General Edward Katumba Wamala, the former Chief of Defence Forces is under fire for punching an opposition legislator during last week’s debacle in the Ugandan parliament. Gen. Katumba is one of the twelve “nonpartisan” army representatives in parliament. He also doubles as the Works State Minister.
Trouble for Katumba started after a video clip went viral showing him punching Francis Mutebi Zaake, the Mityana Municipality Member of Parliament in the stomach sending him unconscious during the brutal eviction of suspended legislators from the house land week.
Parliament degenerated into chaos after the Speaker; Rebecca Kadaga suspended 24 legislators, mainly opposition members for stirring chaos in an attempt to block a motion seeking to scrap the presidential age limit from the Ugandan constitution.
Initially, Katumba denied hitting the MP.
“It’s true I grabbed Zaake when he threw a chair but I never boxed him. I only threatened him,” Katumba said.
However, the video clip shows the General pulling Zaake who was aiming at plain clothed security operative and landing the killer punch.
The incident has drawn outrage from the opposition and social media critics.
“We respected him as a professional soldier, we did not expect him to go on that level,” said Paul Mwiru, the Deputy Spokesperson of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change –FDC party. He asked the General to apologize to the legislator.
“When Zaake is punched, it symbolizes that all the people who voted him have been punched. Katumba should apologize to him and the people of Mityana Municipality,” he said.
Hukat, a social media critic described the General’s conduct as shameful.
“We all loved Katumba and I doubt if anybody here hated him before. Let him just accept he tarnished his name within seconds. Just a word sorry is enough for him,” he said.
On Monday, Katumba visited Zaake on his bed in Rubaga hospital and apologized over the incident.