By: Prof Charles Kambanda
1.If I were to analyze the question “why does the US target Kale Kayihura, who is powerless, now?
I would start from the people Kayihura did business for or with, the likes of Sheik Mohammed, Waleed, Kaldoun, Mustapha Ould Lima, Kagame etc. How do these guys do business? How do these guys treat their former business allies, who have fallen from “grace to grass”,but happen to know too much and would claim some rights because of what they did for these guys?
2. Per the UNSC closed session meeting minutes, prior to smoking M23 force from from DRC, Kagame disowned M23 and supported France/US proposed immediate and decisive military campaign against M23, which Kagame said belonged to Kayihura and Museveni.
This was after France warned Kagame against supporting M23 and the “devastating” consequences for Kagame, if he continued supporting M23. Effectively, Kagame tossed Kayihura under the bus!
Kale Kayihura was doing the dirty job for Paul Kagame and his partners-in-crime.
Did Kale Kayihura know the type of people he was dealing with? Probably not
Do Kale Kayihura’s former partners-in-crime have interest in incapacitating or eliminating him? Certainly
Do the same people have the capacity to secure US sanctions against their former partner-in-crime, they want incapacitated or eliminated? Yes.
3. Could Kayihura end up at the ICC, another Jean Bosco Ntaganda?
It appears to me that the aim of the Sanctions is to incapacitate or eliminate Kayihura, for knowing too much but has outlived his utility for the dreadful businessmen he served.
The US will probably press Museveni economically and diplomatically. Museveni is likely to argue that “we are ready to prosecute Kayihura for the same or similar crimes … give us time and all the evidence we need to prosecute”.
Meanwhile, the International Bank of Settlements will delay or reject BoU international transactions because of the “blockage” US sanctions will lay on all transactions from or to Uganda, pending verification to make sure no transaction that’s related to Kayihura and his business empire goes through IBS system. This could slow down Uganda’s economy.
Of course, justice is rarely a major the issue issue in International politics and/or diplomacy. Kayihura’s case might not be an exception. The businessmen /companies or the politics involved will probably dictate that Kale Kayihura is prosecuted outside Uganda; the target is, apparently, to get rid of Kayihura for knowing too much and/or outliving his utility. With a new Prosecutor at the ICC, probably a US ally, Gen. Kayihura could end up in ICC dock.
Will Russia or China block a UNSC resolution to ferry Kayihura to the ICC? Not very sure, especially since Kale Kayihura was directly involved in the 2015 coup in Burundi, which was against Russia’s strategic interests. In addition, Kale Kayihura was directly involved in M23 war in DRC. This war was a threat to Russia’s strategic interests.