I would protest this new Rambo diplomacy – if I didn’t need a visa...

Saturday September 22 2012

I am beginning to understand why some people cannot stand official America. Apparently some clever saboteurs have infiltrated the US government and are carrying out acts intended to make more people get fed up with all things American.

A few days ago I watched a video that you can also find on YouTube. It was a news report by NTV, the television arm of Nation Media Group, about a most repugnant event that occurred barely four weeks before Uganda’s golden jubilee Independence anniversary.

What happened is that Maj Gen Pecos Kutesa’s official car was hit from behind by an American embassy car, whereupon two guys jumped out of the offending vehicle and, instead of apologising for their recklessness, pulled the general’s driver out and beat him up.

They then pulled out their diplomatic bayonets and slashed the tyres of the general’s car.

All the while, the UPDF general was sitting inside the car, whose number plates indicated clearly that it was an army vehicle.

And the general was in full uniform, complete with his red collar, which even a civilian would know indicates a very senior rank. And in case I forgot to mention it, this event took place in Uganda, not very from the capital city.


Members of the public who witnessed the event could not believe that a Ugandan, let alone a UPDF general, could be so blatantly abused and humiliated in broad daylight.

They wanted to “sort out” the “diplomats,” but were restrained by the victim who had been assaulted at bayonet point, though he was himself armed and in full uniform.

He told NTV that he could have shot his attackers, but decided to show the difference between “us and them.”

The Uganda police then arrived on the scene and scattered the angry civilians to allow the bayonet wielding “diplomats” to leave safely in their vehicle.

The humiliated general had to get a lift in a police car because, his tyres having been slashed, he could not of course drive any farther.

We must all thank God that the “diplomats” assaulted this particularly cool-headed general. Many people who have not delved into Uganda’s post-Independence history may not even know him.

Yet Gen Kutesa is a decorated veteran of the liberation war and a published author who, however, avoids the limelight.

Just imagine if it had been a more impetuous officer, who might have used his firearm in self-defence as the unprovoked, bayonet wielding diplomats descended on his vehicle?

The incident could have turned fatal, and Uganda could have joined the list of countries perceived as hostile to America, if these infiltrators who use US embassy vehicles to assault peaceful people in their own country turned out to be Americans.

By now some “democratic bombing” could even be under way over Kampala!

It would do the US embassies a world of good to exercise tight control over their vehicles, so that terrorists posing as diplomats do not access them to carry out dangerously provocative actions. 

The young Ugandan who drew my attention to the video wanted to stage a demonstration. Being an old coward, I reminded him that he might need a US visa one of these days, so he agreed to abandon the idea.

Joachim Buwembo is a Knight International fellow for development journalism. E-mail: [email protected]