"The law must be applied equally and we should not see a selective application of the law”
Human rights defenders have called for the quick apprehension of Uganda’s Ambassador to Burundi, Maj. Gen. Matayo Kyaligonza for assaulting a female traffic police officer
Kyaligonza alongside his bodyguards L/CPL Peter Bushindiki and Pte John Robert Okurut, are accused of assaulting Sgt Esther Namaganda on Sunday.
The bodyguards have since been arrested and are now being held at the Military Police headquarters, according to the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) spokesperson Brig. Richard Karemire.
In a statement released by the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI), the human rights defenders have demanded that Kyaligonza who doubles as the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) vice-chairperson for western region be punished.
The FHRI executive director Livingstone Sewanyana, called for speedy disciplinary action against Kyaligonza for his he impious act.
“It is not only the bodyguards that assaulted the lady but even Kyaligonza was involved. Therefore the law must be applied equally and we should not see a selective application of the law,” Sewanyana said.
He noted that the highest appointing authority should take action on Kyaligonza because he does not serve as a good example of a disciplined officer who is ready to respect the law and others.
Sewnyana said this brutal and egregious assault is one of the many recent acts of impunity by state security agents and highlights a trend for the disregard of rule of law and the role of state institutions.
Equally the director of research, advocacy and lobbying at FHRI, Fred Sekindi, Kyaligonza needs to be punished like his bodyguards.
“It is not right for junior officers to be arrested and charged and their commanding officer whose instructions they followed is scot-free. And it is important for the public to know which kind of punishment these people will be given,” Sekindi said.
On Sunday, the female traffic officer, who was on duty, reportedly ordered the vehicle, in which Kyaligonza was travelling, to stop after the driver of the vehicle committed a traffic offence.
The three men instead pounced on the traffic officer and started harassing her as seen in the video clip that went viral social media platforms.
It is also reported that a Uganda Broadcasting Cooperation (UBC) journalist who was at the scene was also allegedly assaulted for recording the incident.
“None of us is above the law. As human right defenders and lawyers, we very much concerned by yet another incident that some people believe they are above the law. That is a major concern for us and it is important that we preserve, protect the rule of the law,” Sekindi say.
FHRI commended the journalist and citizens, for the vigilance exhibited in exposing what it called a disregard for the rule of law by a general of high ranking status and implored the public to keep up the vigilance for the good of an equal, just and equitable society.
On Monday, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament also weighed in on the controversy saying that Kyaligonza's actions have no place in any society.