Police finally indicate Gen Kyaligonza ‘could be summoned’ to face charges
The public is anxious to see what the government will do with its senior officer stooping as low as beating up a Traffic Policewoman on duty.
CRIME | Uganda Police have finally spoken of the possibility of summoning Maj Gen Matayo Kyaligonza to face possible charges of assault of a Traffic Policewoman on duty.
The retired UPDF general is at the centre of public embarrassment after commanding his guards to molest Esther Namaganda, a Traffic Policewoman on duty at Seeta, over stopping his driver from making a wrong U-Turn in the middle of the road.
Two military his guards; Peter Bushindiki Peter and John Robert Okurut, were on Sunday evening detained at the Military Police headquarters but the Ugandan ambassador to Burundi remains a free man.
“As a matter of protocol, the team will through the police leadership cause for the summoning of Amb. Kyaligonza, through the Ministry of Internal Affairs to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on probable charges of assault and wrongful obstruction of an officer on duty,” Police spokesperson Fred Enanga said.
Gen Kyaligonza is a member of NRM historicals and sits on the UPDF High Command, statuses that give him an untouchable aura of authority in a banana republic where self-entitlement appears to be the order of the day.
I remember one day he was demoted for slapping the OC Station Jinja Rd ASP Tumusiime in 1989. https://t.co/sVi38oq06q
— Asan Kasingye (@AKasingye) February 24, 2019
Although his conduct on Sunday wouldn’t have shocked many, the victim being a woman and a Traffic Police officer on duty made things worse, leaving even those who condone acts of impunity by public officials angry.
The incident that was captured on video started when the driver of Amb. Kyaligonza’s official vehicle 18CDMI wrongfully made a U-turn in the middle of the road at Seeta junction. Officer Namaganda stopped the driver, prompting two body guards to the General to jump out of the car and angrily confront her.
Namaganda was grabbed by the neck and collar and pulled around as Gen Kyaligonza, who appeared to command the whole charade, stepped in and appeared to slap the hapless cop to before give instructions.
“We strongly condemn such acts of brutality upon our officers, and do further congratulate our officer on the degree of patience and restraint exhibited,” Enanga said.
“We are observing her treatment and speedy recovery from the injuries and trauma suffered from the incident. This is one example of the risks all police officers face as they work to protect the citizens they serve.”
Police said in the statement that they have since instituted two task force teams to pursue the matter. One is headed by KMP Traffic police chief, who will investigate the conduct of the driver for inconsiderate use of the road, and the second team under the CID boss Met Police.
“They will investigate the charges of assault and wilful obstruction of an officer on official duty. The team is also investigating an additional complaint of assault from a UBC Journalist, Peter Otai, who was allegedly assaulted while capturing the incident on video,” Enanga said.
The incident caused outpouring of disgust from the public, with more videos and photos continuing to emerge, showing the extent of impunity Gen Kyaligonza and his guards meted out on Sunday.
Police said the two task force teams will jointly coordinate with the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence and obtain statements from the two body guards under detention.
“The public must know that the military charge against them has criminal consequences, reason why we are working with the CMI to bridge the gap and explore the opportunity of charging the suspects on both criminal charges and court martial, over the same behaviour,” Enanga said.
Chief Police Commissar of Uganda Police, Asan Kasingye on Sunday tweeted his disgust at Gen Kyaligonza’s behaviour, drawing to memory of an incident in 1989 when the NRA historical was demoted for slapping the Officer in charge of Jinja Road Police Station, only identified as Tumusiime, in 1989.
Until Sunday’s incident in Seeta, Kyaligonza has lived the untouchable life, reigning terror on people in Hoima, especially in his Buhaguzi constituency. His actions have largely been left out of the public attention because the victims and those around him dread him.
But after molesting Namaganda, the world has opened festered wounds of his impunity, with many taking to social media to cite sickening incidents involving Gen Kyaligonza.
In his constituency, he is largely called ‘Brigadier’ after the military rank he held for donkey years before his current. The mention of ‘Brigadier’ will send even the bravest of men under the bed.
The allegations, some sounding like Stand-Up hyperbole, are many. One said: “On another occasion, Kyaligonza who had gone against the EC timetable went to disrupt a rally that the late Tom Kyahurwenda had organised. While in his car, he heard Amlan Tumusiime relaying the news of these developments on Radio Hoima. Accompanied by then Col Kaganda, Kyaligonza turned his convoy and headed to the radio Hoima station where he met Amlan, whatever happened to him can be told by the scar on Amlan’s face.”
Another Facebook user alleged that Kyaligonza once arrested a herdsman whose animals had strayed in his farm. He tied him up and locked him in a pit-latrine, then told the villagers and his relatives that if anyone dared release the herdsman, they would face his wrath.
“He returned after one month to pick the body and bury it in the bush,” the Facebook user said in a comment to Crime24 article on social media reactions to the assault on Namaganda.
But what next for Gen Kyaligonza? President Museveni is not known to address himself on the conduct of his appointees, at least not in public. It also remains unknown if he ever asks them to account for their actions.
It, therefore, remains to be seen if he will take any action against a diplomat whose behaviour would have seen many in serious democracies resigning within 24 hours.