UPDF colonel faces death
A UPDF officer formerly with the African Union mission in Somalia (Amisom) returns to court next week facing the possibility of a death sentence, after a key witness pinned him in the court martial on April 24. Lt Col David K. Matua, who was commanding officer of armoured elements and operations and training officer (OPTO), is on trial for ill-treating a subordinate and failing to service war tanks in time.
He was one of the Ugandan army officers recalled from Somalia last September, over corruption-related offences. Prosecution alleges that in June 2013, Matua ill-treated Captain Eric Kiberu Kassulo, a tank maintenance officer, by ordering him out of an armoured vehicle which was outside the military defence, thereby exposing him to enemy fire.
Matua is also accused of failing to supervise his subordinates to service war tanks. These last counts attract the maximum penalty of death on conviction according to the UPDF Act.
In his April 24 testimony, Maj Samuel Tumwebaze, who took over from Matua last September, said tanks were supposed to be serviced every three months, which was not done: “If tanks are not serviced in time, even a small wire to the tank body can cause various bombs in there to explode and this almost killed our combatants,” Tumwebaze said during cross examination.