Mukono Chief Magistrate Juliet Hantanga has ordered for the arrest of Uganda’s ambassador to Burundi, Maj Gen (rtd) Matayo Kyaligonza and his bodyguards on charges of assault and obstruction of a police officer on duty.
The magistrate ordered that Maj Gen (rtd) Kyaligonza, his two bodyguards; Cpl Peter Busindiche and Pte John Okurut be arrested and taken to court on June 10 to plead to the charges after they repeatedly defied court summons.
Kyaligonza’s lawyers David Balondemu, Evans Ochieng and Caleb Alaka claimed that their client is being tried in two courts (Mukono court and the General Court Martial) at the same time and can’t attend all the concurrent proceedings, but court dismissed their submissions.
Gen.Kyalingonza and his escorts are alleged to have assaulted Ms Esther Namaganda, a traffic police officer on February 24 this year in Seeta, Mukono District.
Mr Alaka told the magistrate that all the accused belong to the army which has the jurisdiction under the UPDF Act, to discipline them.
“Your worship, on April 16, 2019, the state attorney for UPDF instituted proceedings against the accused persons in the Court Martial on the same facts similar to those before you.
Since they can be convicted and sentenced by both courts, we pray that this court terminates these proceedings because they are charged in Court Martial.
That’s why all of them have not appeared in this court,” Mr Alaka said.
His colleague Mr Ochieng argued that there was no reason for court to issue a warrant of arrest since some of the accused persons (Cpl Busindiche and Pte Okurut) were already in custody.
However, senior State Attorney Jonathan Muwaganya insisted that court orders for the suspects’ arrest and dismissed the defence lawyers’ claims for their clients’ absence.
He also told court that Gen Kyaligonza’s name was not on the charge sheet for the General Court Martial case because he is a retired army officer.
He said failure to respond to criminal summons is a sign of disrespect to court which requires a warrant of arrest.
After court proceedings, Mr Alaka told journalists outside the courtroom that they would appeal to the High Court to cancel the arrest warrant against their clients.
Ms Namaganda was present in court with her husband, Mr Alphonse Musoni who also is a police officer.