11 November 2012

Uganda: Then & Now - Kyaligonza, Otafiire Clash Over Kutesa

As the censure of Sam Kutesa, then minister of state for Investment, gathered steam in Parliament, Maj Gen Matayo Kyaligonza made a damning allegation that Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire harboured a personal vendetta against Kutesa.

Talking to journalists in February 1999, the army officer who was then MP for Buhaguzi, claimed that Otafiire had tried to persuade him to join the anti-Kutesa crusade. He said: "At first I had been convinced that all wrongdoers should be exposed but later I discovered I was being lured to fight wars which are personal. I thought the man [Otafiire] had a genuine war against corruption but later I remembered that he had an axe to grind with Kutesa."

Kyaligonza was alluding to an incident in 1988, when Otafiire drew a gun at Kutesa's late wife, Jennifer, after she allegedly insulted him in a public place. Following the incident, Otafiire resigned from cabinet. Kyaligonza also claimed that some legislators wanted to censure Kutesa because they thought he was too rich.

"This man [Kutesa]is an international businessman and his resignation could damage his reputation. That is why I support him to fight on like Jim Muhwezi did," Kyaligonza said.

Kutesa, now minister of Foreign Affairs, was eventually censured after all. Despite that incident 13 years ago, we understand that Kyaligonza and Otafiire are good friends today. In fact, when Otafiire, now minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, was campaigning to become secretary general of the NRM in 2010, Kyaligonza was one of his strategists.

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