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UGANDA: Museveni’s General Ggwanga with licence to shoot anything?

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Accused. Maj Gen Kasirye Gwanga addresses the media during the age limit debate at Parliament in September 2017. PHOTO BY ALEX ESGALA. 

Retired Maj Gen Kasirye Gwanga was at it again last week, shooting and deflating the tyres of a lorry that was ferrying logs of eucalyptus in Busujju County, Mityana District.

Gen Ggwanga has vowed to stop the cutting of eucalyptus trees in the area of his birth, arguing that those who planted the commercial forests first cut down natural forests, and that he will, for this reason, ensure that they don’t harvest the eucalyptus.

The shooting incident last week followed another that happened two weeks earlier, in which he again shot the tyres of a lorry carrying logs of eucalyptus. These cases are reported to the police, and police records show that the retired general now has a total of 11 cases reported against him. But none of them has been conclusively dealt with.

Although now officially retired, Gen Ggwanga is largely seen as an army officer, wielding a machine gun and some military insignia. We asked the Defence and army spokesperson, Brig Richard Karemire, what the military is doing about the errant general.
Brig Karemire said: “Let the police deal with the matter [because Gen Ggwanga is retired].

When retired Maj Gen Matayo Kyaligonza was involved in another problem, they approached the police to handle their issues and this one too should be able to be dealt with at that level.”
The incident Gen Karemire references happened in Seeta near Mukono Town in February where Gen Kyaligonza and his military guards were accused of assaulting a traffic police officer on duty.

The army court charged Gen Kyaligonza’s guards because they are serving officers, but left the police and civil courts to deal with Gen Kyaligonza. Gen Kyaligonza’s case is still before the courts.

On Gen Ggwanga’s cases, we turned to the police for answers. Wamala region police spokesperson Norman Ochom said the cases involving Gen Ggwanga are being investigated and that the files had been deposited with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for sanctioning.

“We are taking this as a serious matter and we shall soon come to know the motive behind it. Let the public keep calm,” Mr Ochom said.
The general has been involved in a number of incidents before that.

In January, for instance, Gen Ggwanga shot and ripped a tyre of artiste Catherine Kusasira’s car, accusing the occupants of the car of playing their music too loud and being oblivious to pleas to tone down.
This incident was also reported to the police.

Police’s take
But police spokesperson Fred Enanga told Saturday Monitor that the DPP would decide on whether to follow up on earlier cases or focus on the recent ones in Mityana.

“All the other cases are being investigated and we are treating this as a single case; looking for witnesses and the accusers. That is the same procedure we use for the other cases,” Mr Enanga said.

Some of the other earlier cases include one in August 2017, when Gen Ggwanga set ablaze a grader on a piece of land in Lubowa, which he said belonged to his daughter but someone wanted to grab it.

Earlier incidents
November 2007: Gen Ggwanga allegedly slaps a traffic police officer who had blocked him from using Entebbe Road and he drives off.

September 9, 2008: Brig Ggwanga reportedly beats up Mr Ssebina Ssekitoleko, then an aide to former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi.
December 24, 2009: Brig Ggwanga raids a playground where Pentecostal Christians are holding a prayer crusade near Makindye Magistrate’s Court on Christmas Eve. He fires in the air, scattering the faithful and their pastor, whom he accuses of making noise in a residential neighbourhood.

July 19, 2010: Maj Gen Ggwanga allegedly knocks dead an 11-year-old Elijah Oyako in Entebbe. He does not report to police. The case of reckless driving and causing death is opened and taken to court. He has never appeared in court.

May 2011: Gen Ggwanga is accused of setting his dogs on a civilian at Total Petrol Station at Kibuye, a Kampala suburb. The victim reports to police, but Gen Ggwanga insists the man wanted to steal property from his car.

April 2012: Gen Ggwanga is accused of assault by Mr Vincent Bagonza, Mr Ezra Sigiranda and Mr Ano Gafa, all residents of Boma in Mubende District. Police promise to summon Gen Ggwanga over the allegations, but they have not to-date.

—— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: August 31, 2019 at 03:03PM

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