For reportedly meting out violence to a female traffic Police officer on duty, parliamentarians have asked Government to recall Maj. Gen. Matayo Kyaligonza from his duty station in Burundi. On Sunday morning, social media was awash with pictures and video clips of Kyaligonza, who is Uganda’s Ambassador to Burundi, together with two of his bodyguards mishandling Sgt. Esther Namaganda for stopping their vehicle over flouting traffic regulations.
Namaganda is said to have intercepted Kyaligonza’s car for making a U-turn at the Seeta junction in Mukono district, prompting a scuffle during which Kyaligonza is said to have slapped her while his bodyguards who were both clad in Military Police uniform were seen tightly grabbing her by the collar while asking where she had got the authority to stop the car.
Briefing Parliament about the incident yesterday, the Minister for Internal Affairs, Gen. Jeje Odongo, said whereas the bodyguards identified as RA/221607L/ CPL Peter Bushindiki and RA/230927/ Pte Robert Okurut have already been arrested and detained at Makindye Military Barracks,
“Maj. Gen. (Kyaligonza) is now a retired military officer subject to civilian law, but he has been asked to record a statement with the Police that will be used to bring the investigation to a logical conclusion”.
However, the Uganda Women’s Parliamentary Association (UWOPA) chairperson, Pamela Kamugo (Budaka Woman MP), said:
“Kyaligonza has occasionally assaulted women and it is inconceivable that a man that has held a gun for so long can slap a woman who is meant to be handled tenderly.”
In a motion to bring Kyaligonza to book, she said that his continued holding of office as ambassador and member of the UPDF’s Military High Command will compromise investigations, therefore, he should be recalled from Burundi and forced to resign from all public office.
Kyaligonza also doubles as the National Resistance Movement (NRM) vicechairperson for the western region. Kamugo appealed to Parliament to force the Government to ensure that the perpetrators are charged and Namaganda is compensated for damages caused and promoted to a high rank in the Police force, “for standing up against arrogant military officers that were violating traffic laws”.
One by one each of the MPs that took to the floor welcomed Kamugo’s motion to hold Kyaligonza to account and condemned the act of violence against a woman moreover on official duty. Kira Municipality’s Ibrahim Ssemujju said:
“The Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) should stop hiding behind Kyaligonza’s retirement to let him walk away scot free because according to the UPDF Act Kyaligonza is a permanent member of the Military Council, therefore, he is not a civilian and thus subject to the military court martial.”