Pastor, 30 Followers Arrested for Defying Ban on Public Gatherings

Rashid Mutebi, a Kampala-based Pentecostal Church pastor, together with 30 of his followers have been detained for defying a presidential directive against public gatherings.

The president announced a ban on gatherings, as a strategy to control the spread of coronavirus disease COVID-19. The banned gatherings include Church, weddings, cultural events and political meetings, among others, for a period of 32 days, effective Wednesday last week.

In the interim, clerics were advised to use social media platforms, as well as TV and Radio stations to continue preaching the word of God. This, he said, citing an example of His Holiness, Pope Francis, set a good example of enlightenment on this by abandoning his customary preaching in St. Peters’ Square and is instead, using the TV.

But despite the guidance, Pastor Mutebi and his congregants were found running a praise and worship service at Blessed Feelings Church International located at Gobe, Kajjansi, along Entebbe Road on Wednesday.

Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson Patrick Onyango says that the police was notified by vigilant neighbours. But Mutebi said, in his statement at Kajjansi police station that he was still looking for money to transport his Church members to their respective villages.

“Pastor Rashid Mutebi and his followers were picked after Police received information about their illegal activities at the Church. On interrogation, the Pastor alleges that the Christians came from far and he was still looking for money to transport them to their homes,” Onyango said quoting Mutebi.

Early this week, the police arrested more than 80 mourners, gamblers, revellers and worshippers who are now waiting to be arraigned in courts of law for disobeying lawful orders. Police Spokesperson, Fred Enanga, said the charges emanate from gathering in betting centres, bars, clubs, discos and churches which is against Museveni’s directives intended to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Uganda People’s Defence Forces- UPDF, Local Defence Unit –LDUs, 999 police patrol unit, crime intelligence and field force personnel have arrested, cautioned or detained more than 300 people since Museveni issued the orders.  

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Abitegeka Gerald

The News Editor ,Reporter at Kagadi Kibaale community Radio

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