RETIRED AND TIRED: Uganda’s DG ISO, Col. Frank Bagyenda Kaka at The Heart of The Deteriorating Relations Between Uganda and Rwanda

I read with keen interest the recent interview by Col. Frank Bagyenda Kaka, Uganda’s Director General for Internal Security Organization (DG ISO) with the “Grapevine”, one of the Ugandan blogs during which, in addition to several distortions, he compared the Rwanda-Uganda diplomatic spat as marrying a woman who believes in rumors indirectly accusing Rwanda for believing in rumors.

In the first place, one wonders what Col. Kaka was trying to mean when he said that Rwanda believed in rumors yet it’s a known fact that the accusations made by Rwanda against Uganda contain tangible evidence confirming Uganda’s support to Rwandan subversive groups to destabilize Rwanda; arrest of Rwandans; and acts of economic sabotage.

A close look at his reckless statements throughout the interview reveals that Col. Kaka isn’t fit to occupy such a respected position. Indeed, it’s no wonder that three Ugandans recently petitioned the High Court in Kampala challenging the position of the Director General of Internal Security Organization (ISO), Col Frank Kaka Bagyenda whom they accused of not being qualified to hold any public office.

In an apparent lack of the required intellectual capacity to lead an intelligence organization like ISO, Col. Kaka has been involved in various scandals including ordering raids at the MTN data center in Mutundwe and fabricating evidence linking Gen. Kayihura to AIGP Kaweesi’s death which later backfired. It is reported that days before Kayihura got arrested, President Museveni was handed a recording of the former Police Chief’s voice. The recording indicated that Kayihura had said “thank you very much” after being told that AIGP Kaweesi had been killed. It is important to note that the voice recording was considered by ISO as one of the prime evidence linking Kayihura to the murder. Later it turned out clearly that the voice had been “audio-shopped” by the Director General ISO in order to incriminate Kayihura. It is disheartening to see a head of an intelligence organization fabricating evidence to incriminate a fellow colleague!!

However, one needs not to blame Col. Kaka for his wicked decisions but the blame should go to the appointing authority who selected this retired and tired agriculturalist to the position of spy chief. Indeed, after his retirement in 1993 at the rank of Major, Kaka retreated to Kalangala Island in Lake Victoria where he got actively engaged in fish business, until his appointment as the DG ISO.

News regarding his appointment as the DG ISO came as shock as nobody expected the man who was retired, tired and completely out of touch with politics could be appointed to such a sensitive position. However, those who are knowledgeable with President Museveni’s working methods were not shocked. According to NRM insiders who The Great Lakes Eye talked to, they indicated that his appointment and Museveni’s other appointments points to one thing: Museveni has reached the grandparent age where you must trust either your kids or your childhood comrades. No wonder he now calls Ugandans “Abazukuru” as if all Ugandans are his offsprings.

Besides, in addition to Col. Kaka being Museveni’s bush war comrade, it is believed that his appointment was influenced by Gen. Salim Saleh, President Museveni’s young brother who wanted to use him as a stooge to serve personal interests. Indeed, it is reported that before his appointment as DG ISO, Gen. Salim Saleh was involved in business deals with Col. Kaka and it is common knowledge that the two jointly owns Panaroma Cottages in Ssese Islands. It is equally reported that Col. Kaka oversees a host of business interests in tourism, fishing and agriculture across the country for Gen. Salim Saleh.

Insiders within ISO further indicate that following his appointment as DGISO, Kaka carried out a massive shake-up in the local intelligence gathering outfit. Insiders say this was the most far-reaching shake-up in over a decade, which left more than 100 directors, deputy directors and staff officers transferred or reassigned. According to the changes, senior Directors who were perceived not to be his stooges were deployed out of the organization and as a result, Kaka hired what the Chimpreports called “the faces of terror directing ISO operations”, where the paper listed a number of terror operatives running ISO operations which has as a result caused humiliation to the organization. It is reported that Col. Kaka deliberately did this in order to be able to divert resources meant for operations under the watch of strangers who are new to ISO and whose survival lie in his hands of the DG who has been given the authority to fire and hire at will.

Additionally, it is during Col. Kaka’s reign that there have been complaints about poor facilitation of operatives, who reportedly take long to get operational funds, which, according to sources, partly contributed to increase in crime in Kampala and across the country.

It is therefore not surprising that Col. Kaka and his master Gen. Salim Saleh belong to the league of spoilers advocating for war with Rwanda hoping that the war would obviously result into huge budgetary allocation to ISO which they could in turn swindle to finance their jointly owned business enterprises. It is on record that whenever heads of Uganda’s intelligence outfits want to have their budget for operation funds increased, they fake operations with aim to generate funds for personal enrichment. In this regard, a war with Rwanda is seen as a perfect opportunity for some of the Ugandan leaders to make money.

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