Police have apologized over an incident in which it fired teargas during a Mbogo clan meeting in Mityana on Saturday.
Police on Saturday fired teargas to disperse Buganda Kingdom’s Mbogo Clan members who had convened at the clan’s ancestral ground, located at Mugulu in Ziggoti Town Council in a thanksgiving service for their clan head, Gajuule Kasibante.
The mass was led by retired Masaka Diocese Bishop, John Baptist Kaggwa but midway through the proceedings, police surrounded the place and asked the masses to leave the premises because their gathering was illegal.
Addressing journalists on Monday, Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga said the firing of teargas to disrupt the clan meeting was not intentional but noted it was made inevitable by the need to stop politicians including Francis Zaake and David Kalwanga from joining the meeting with a swarm of supporters who included boda boda riders.
“We fired teargas which spread to the venue where the bishop was holding the mass. It was not intentional. We apologise to all those directly affected by the teargas including the Catholic Church, the bishop and members of the Mbogo clan,” Enanga said.
The Police spokesperson explained that when security got information of the event that was happening, they responded and found that the event was not being regulated as required by Ministry of Health.
“When our task teams got the information, they responded since it was more of a public function and organisers ought to have got clearance from Mityana covid task force. When task team arrived, they found prayers ongoing. They allowed the event to proceed but restricted further entry.”
Enanga explained that whereas they left the function to continue, politicians who came in with a swarm of supporters who included boda boda riders continued to flock and efforts to stop them fell on deaf ears, prompting them to fire teargas to disperse them.
“Our task teams anticipated another larger gathering in an uncontrolled setting contrary to Ministry of Health guidelines. The DPC made a proclamation but the groups who are always confrontational refused to heed to it. After other options of dispersing them had failed, use of teargas was imminent. We used teargas to break up a seemingly violent group.”
The Police spokesperson said whereas the use of teargas to disrupt the meeting was not intentional, organisers of such religious and cultural functions ought to follow the set procedures by the Ministry of Health as a way of avoiding the spread of Coronavirus.
“We call for better coordination of religious and cultural functions because health is our number one priority.”
The development comes on the backdrop of condemnation of Police by Buganda Katikkiro, Charles Peter Mayiga who said the kingdom is worried about such acts of impunity against culture, more so, ahead of the forthcoming 2021 general elections.
“Members of the Mbogo clan are so many. They have different political aspirations and they belong to different religions but they are all members of the Mbogo clan. We condemn acts of refusing people to gather and share with their clan leaders,” Mayiga said.
The Katikkiro urged police and the army to handle matters of culture with utmost respect and caution.