High Court okays Gen Kyaligonza arrest

Wednesday August 21 2019

Interview. Uganda’s ambassador to Burundi, Maj

Interview. Uganda’s ambassador to Burundi, Maj Gen Matayo Kyaligonza during the interview at his home in Kampala in April. PHOTO BY ALEX ESAGALA 

By ANTHONY WESAKA

The High Court in Mukono has given a green light to the Inspector General of Police to arrest Maj Gen (Rtd) Matayo Kyaligonza and produce him to the lower court in Mukono to plead to assault related charges that he has been facing since February this year.

The Tuesday ruling by Justice Margaret Mutonyi, brings to an end a protracted standoff between Kyaligonza's defence team and the prosecution side on whether the former Luweero bush war general should appear before Mukono court and be charged or not.

"The warrant of arrest against Maj Gen (Rtd) Matayo Kyaligonza is reinstated as it was not issued in error to compel him to appear for plea before the chief magistrates' court," Justice Mutonyi ruled.

Justice Mutonyi also in her ruling, ordered that the two army officers who were charged before an army disciplinary unit and are jointly on the same charge sheet with the general, also be brought to the civilian court to also plead to the assault related charges.

The wanted soldiers who were at the time of the alleged assault, the Gen Kyaligonza's aides are; Cpl Peter Bushenbich and Pte Robert Okurut

"The chief magistrate court should issue a production warrant for A2 (Cpl Businsiche) and A3 (Pte Okurut) to Makindye military court and proceedings in respect of the two should be stayed or withdrawn pending determination of CR - CO 0312/2019 which is in court," Justice Mutonyi ordered.

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Gen Kyaligonza, also a Ugandan ambassador to Burundi had run to the High Court in Mukono to stop his arrest in connection to the alleged involvement in the assault of a traffic police officer, Esther Namaganda earlier this year in Seeta, citing double jeopardy.

The general is accused of assaulting Sgt Namaganda in Seeta in February this year after she flagged down his convoy that had illegally made a U- turn.

But in her ruling, Justice Mutonyi held that Gen Kyaligonza's application to stop his arrest had no merit as the double jeopardy claims he cited, don't arise.

The judge went on to explain that their argument of being charged before the army court and therefore shouldn't be charged again in a civilian court, does not hold water because they were first summoned by the civilian court and that they should abide to it.

The judge said instead it should be the army court to drop the charges against the two army soldiers since it’s the second court to charge them and yet they were first summoned by the Mukono court.

"I hold the view that the rule of principle of double jeopardy applies to the 2nd court not the court of first instance and in this case, the applicants should appear before the magistrate court of Mukono to answer to the charges against them," the judge held.

The prosecution had also argued that Gen Kyaligonza has never been charged before the military court since he is no longer a serving officer.

Gen Kyaligonza risks being jailed for five years if found guilty of assault occasioning bodily harm according to section 236 of the Penal Code Act.

His bodyguards are facing three charges of common assault, obstructing a police officer and assault causing bodily harm.

awesaka@ug.nationmedia.com

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