Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana has expressed confusion over the outrage that was generated by a picture of him appearing to graze animals while wielding a semi-automatic rifle.
In the photo which went viral Friday evening, the Deputy AG is seen striding on a farm, with an AK 47 gun strapped on his shoulder.
Several Friesian cattle are visible in the background.
The photo sparked a big debate on social media, with many questioning its optics.
But Mr Rukutana, who initially attempted to distance himself from the photo while speaking to us on phone, later, wondered why grazing animals with a gun could be a cause of anger.
“What if it was me in the photo,” he said. “Let’s assume it was mine, what would be wrong with that?”
Several critics of the image argued it didn’t project the rule of law that Mr Rukutana’s office embodies.
This is how Uganda’s Deputy Attorney General grazes his cows! The country’s deputy cheif legal advisor – not sure it’s a sign of peace of belief in the rule of law that his office is suppose to embody. #ManofManyScandles pic.twitter.com/vQoZaqpmus
— Nicholas Opiyo (@nickopiyo) November 16, 2018
Pressed further on the optics of the photo, the Deputy AG retorted, “How do you know if I wasn’t just passing by?”
“We wouldn’t know sir, unless you told us,” this reporter responded before he hung up the phone.
On social media, majority of the commentators said Mr Rukutana portrayed a bad image for the country.
“There is everything wrong with a pot-bellied civilian chap carrying around a submachine gun,” wrote, one Nada Andersen.
“Everything wrong. This is not America. We are kind and peaceful people. We are not murderous idiots. There is everything wrong. And don’t insult Nick please.”
“Aren’t such weapons a preserve of the armed forces? Has anybody court martialled him?” said one Muwanguzi on Twitter.
For former Presidential aide Morrison Rwakakamba, such is the reason Uganda needs a national dialogue.
Clearly we need a National Dialogue! We used to graze with sticks! pic.twitter.com/U69pWS40m7
— Rwakakamba Morrison (@Rwakakamba) November 16, 2018
The Opposition Forum for Democratic Change also weighed in on the matter.
A man (Mwesigwa Rukutana, Deputy Attorney General of #Uganda) grazing his cattle the Karamoja style in Ankole. Will UPDF that disarmed Karamojongs move to disarm Banyankore who graze cattle with guns? pic.twitter.com/JI90dO2l5u
— FDC (@FDCOfficial1) November 16, 2018
However, some commentators came out in defence of Mr Rukutana.
But we have seen our president armed with Kalashnikov several times. He was not accused of being a criminal or sort of… Double standards detected.
— Joshua Bahabwa 💭 (@JBahabwa) November 16, 2018
But do you people know how dangerous cows can be? When I acquire some, I might need an APC for inspection.
— ODEKE, Peter Paul (OPP) (@podeke) November 17, 2018