By Sania Babirye
A female Traffic officer sgt. Esther Namaganda who is accusing the Ugandan Ambassador to Burundi Rt Maj. Gen Matayo Kyaligonza and his two body guards (CPL Busindiche Peter and Private John Okurut) of assaulting her and causing bodily injuries has gone to the high court civil division seeking over 200 million in compensation.
Through her lawyers of Thomas and Michael advocates, Namaganda is alleging that on the 24th of February 2019, she was allegedly arrested by the senior army retired officer and his two military police soldiers after she stopped them from making a U-turn in the middle of the road in Seeta in Mukono district.
The traffic officer in her suit claims that on that day, she singled the driver of Maj.Gen. Kyaligonza to make a proper turn but the driver instead, insisted on making the U-turn at Kobil fuel station.
She further claims that to her shock, major. Kyaligonza’s aids jumped out of the car and assaulted her and held her by her collar to drag her off the road as Kyaligonza looked on.
The traffic officer is claiming that she suffered severe pain in the eye, head and ear after the said incident which forced her to seek medical attention and examination from various hospitals including International hospital in Kampala (IHK) international diagnostic center, Shine international medical and surgical center for scan and injury management at her own cost.
She is also claiming that following the said incident, she suffered public embarrassment due to the abuse and humiliation caused to her. She is now seeking 1.2million as the total hospital bills and 200 million shillings in general and punitive damages.
Following the said incident, Kyaligonza and his two body guards were summoned by the Mukono Magistrate court to take plea to charges of assaulting Namaganda but to date neither him or his body guard have appeared in court to take plea forcing the court to issue a warrant of arrest for the senior soldier which also remains to be implemented.
Namaganda has became the second person to sue Kyaligonza for compensation after a journalist with Uganda broadcasting corporation On the 26th of March 2019, Peter Otai sued the controversial retired soldier seeking over 400 million shillings as damages for allegedly assaulting him during the same incident.
The suit followed after the said journalist claimed that he was also assaulted by the suspects as he recorded the retired senior soldier together with his two body guards assaulting the female traffic officer.
Otai who is also the station manager of Magic FM which is an affiliate station of the National Broadcaster (UBC) says the Maj.Gen and his bodyguards assaulted him while on duty after he recorded them assaulting Namaganda on the 24th of February 2019 at Seeta round-about and shared the absurd incident on different social media networks.
In a petition filed jointly with the Uganda Journalist Association (UJA) through their lawyer of Kiiza and Company advocates against Amb. Kyaligonza , his two guards and the Attorney General, Otai wants court to order the defendants to compensate him for the violating his fundamental rights to torture, ill-treatment and abstraction from executing his journalistic duties .
According to documents before court,the petitioner claims that he was shocked to Kyaligonza’s two body guards dresses in full UPDF military attire and the Ambassador slapping and cocking a gun to Namaganda.
And that it was this ill and cold treatment that prompted him and to take out his phone and started video recording the incident.
Otai further claims that when the two guards saw him , they confronted him by demanding to know who he was and he introduced himself as a journalist working with the National Broadcaster(UBC), but instead of letting him continue with his work, the guards surprisingly surrounded him , cocked their guns at him , slapped and kicked him with their Military boots while demanding that he deletes the videos and pictures he had taken .
He says that this was done as the crowd that had gathered watched on and by that time he was already fearing for his life when one of Kyaligonza’s guards drew a sword around his neck forcing him to run for his life.
He explains that in total fear, he run to the nearest Health facility and while there, he shared the assault video that went viral on social media networks .
These now want court to declare that Amb Kyaligonza’s actions including physical and verbal torture and threatening to injure the journalist amounted to an infringement of his rights and freedoms protected by the constitution.
The incident received a massive public criticism with members of Parliament asking President Museveni to recall Kyaligonza from Birundi while Women activists also demanded Maj.Gen.Kyaligonza’s resignation for allegedly assaulting a woman.
However, the controversial soldier in reply called the MPs stupid for asking President Museveni to recall him from Birundi .