2 April 2019

Uganda: MPs Resolution to Recall Me Is Stupid - Kyaligonza

Kampala — Uganda's ambassador to Burundi, Maj Gen Matayo Kyaligonza, has said the Parliament resolution to recall him from his diplomatic posting following his confrontation with a police officer was a "stupid and unfair" decision.

"That decision by Parliament is such a stupid one. It is even unfair. Imagine they jumped on tables, broke microphones and fought each other, but no one recalled them...They are stupid," Maj Gen Kyaligonza told journalists yesterday.

He was referring to violent scenes in the House in December 2017 during the debate on the removal of presidential age limit from the Constitution.

On February 29, Maj Gen Kyaligonza was captured on a video showing him and his bodyguards Mr Peter Bushindiki and Mr John Robert Okurut assaulting Sgt Esther Namaganda, a traffic police officer, at Seeta roundabout in Mukono District.

A motion was tabled in Parliament and MPs passed a resolution to have Maj Gen Kyaligonza recalled from Burundi.

Consequently, police instituted charges of assault and obstruction of a police officer on duty against the ambassador and his bodyguards.

The file was submitted to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions for possible sanctioning to face trial.

However, at the press conference yesterday, Maj Gen Kyaligonza said Parliament does not have any moral authority to pass judgment against him without hearing his side of the story.

"I was there, I saw what happened. Before they finally said that I be recalled, did they ask me for the truth? They are saying that I be recalled. Are they the ones who put me there? Only one committee approved me and they have for the last many years [established] that I am the viable candidate for this job," he said.

About the Seeta incident, Maj Gen Kyaligonza said Sgt Namaganda tried to fight his bodyguards and disrespected his rank, which is the reason they assaulted her.

"She was arrogantly asking them, genero gani huyo (meaning which kind of general is that?). Do your job as we do ours. This angered the bodyguards but that was not Kyaligonza. I was in the car," he said.

In his statement to police after the incident, Maj Gen Kyaligonza said he was forced to make a U-turn after an accident.

"On that day, my driver slowed down but no vehicle was moving; in a split of a minute a taxi also going towards Jinja rammed into my vehicle 18CMD01, an embassy car, from behind and my bodyguards spontaneously jumped out to see the bang and accident," his statement to police reads in part.

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