Gen. Ambassador Matayo Kyaligonza fights a female traffic officer – an illustration of unruly and aging UPDF

Uganda’s Ambassador to Burundi, Maj. Gen. Matayo Kyaligonza and UPDF guards assaulted, in a broad daylight, a Ugandan female traffic officer, for just doing her job: stopping a road user, Kyaligonza, for violating traffic rules as the General was making a wrongful U-turn in Seeta, Mukono on Sunday, 24 Feb 19.

The assault to the brave traffic officer attracted widespread condemnation from social media, forcing the UPDF, through its spokesman Brig. Karemire, to timidly condemn the attack. In an apparent move to appease the public outcry, he announced the arrest of Kyaligonza’s zealous body guards, while remaining evasive as to whether any action would be taken against the unruly and erratic General. Despite public call for President Museveni to his envoy to Burundi, no action will be taken against the erratic Ambassador. And no one should expect the General to either apologize and/or to resign. It will be business as usual.

By blatantly misusing his various honorable hats; a UPDF General, an Ambassador and an NRM cadre; Kyaligonza’s reckless assault is symptomatic of an unruly and aging UPDF, a hostile Ugandan diplomacy/foreign policy as well as an ideologically disoriented NRM.

Kyaligonza’s act is common to many other UDPF Generals whose sense of entitlement allows them to abuse ordinary citizens with impunity. Kyaligonza’s scandal is not the first and arguably not the last within UPDF. Similar blunders were committed by the likes of Generals Kasirye Ggwanga, Kahinda Otafire, Jim Muhwezi, etc. More than 30 years, some of the Ugandan bush war veterans are still competing with thugs in areas of moral malpractices and indiscipline. UPDF Generals remain above the Ugandan law and the brave/poor traffic officer learnt it the hard way.

It is unfortunate that Kyaligonza, the culprit represents Uganda in a country equally known for despicable behaviors.  The government of Burundi is known for violating its own laws, assaulting and, worse, killing its own people. Thus, none should expect the government of Burundi to feel offended by having an envoy of such caliber/character. In the contrary, Kyaligonza was the right choice at the right time as both Uganda and Burundi are actively supporting notorious Rwandan armed groups responsible of the genocide against the Tutsi (FDLR) and/or terror acts (RNC/P5) while arbitrarily arresting, torturing and or killing innocent Rwandans. In this respect, Ambassador Kyaligonza is the ideal ambassador to represent his country in the embattled Burundi, a perfect match for his colleague, the Ambassador of Burundi to Uganda, Jean Bosco Barege, who shamelessly threatened Rwanda with imminent attack by the armed groups, obviously supported by Uganda and Burundi. Coming back to the point, one could assume that Ambassador Kyaligonza mistook the female traffic officer for a Rwandan. Indeed, targeting innocent Rwandans would serve petty interests of his both sending and host countries.

To understand how low the NRM has gone, one needs to remind the famous statement made by his party chairman, President Museveni: “I’m a freedom fighter, I don’t do it because I’m your servant. I’m just a freedom fighter fighting for myself, for my beliefs”. 

To paraphrase his boss statement, one would posit that Kyaligonza is “a freedom fighter”, fighting (with) the female traffic officer “for himself, for his beliefs”. Not surprising that Uganda is embroiled in a mess. Watch this space!

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