Pastor Yiga arrested over false and misleading utterances on Coronavirus disease COVID-19
Ugandan Pastor Yiga arrested for allegedly uttering false and misleading statement on Coronavirus disease COVID-19 contravening the government’s efforts in controlling its spread.
Pastor Augustine Yiga of Revival Church Kawaala on Friday 27 March 28, 2020, said that Coronavirus (COVID-19) which government is struggling to prevent its spread in Uganda is not a pandemic but rather a common flue.
“Coronavirus does not exist in Africa,” Pastor Yiga said.
As a result, Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, Patrick Onyango said Yiga’s utterances which went viral on Facebook undermines government’s efforts in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic and exposes the public to the danger of laxity in observing the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health in curbing COVID-19 spread.
“True today Pastor Augustine Yiga of Revival Church Kawaala was picked by our officers on allegations that he uttered misleading information, statements that were not in conformity with the guidelines of Ministry of Health and government that have been advising people to take certain precaution measures, because there’s COVID-19,” Onyango said.
Onyango adds that Pastor Yiga’s message is harmful to Ugandans because it promotes the spread of COVID-19 contravening Section 171 of the Penal Code Act.
“There’s a disease and you go ahead and start misleading people that there’s no this disease which is infectious. So, when we looked at that we said he has contravened Section 171. So, we picked him up, we are interrogating him and we know maybe before the end of next week, he will appear in court,” Onyango said.
Pastor Yiga was arrested on Saturday 28, March, detained at Old Kampala Police Station, and he will be interrogated to establish the exact intent of his message.
Nevertheless, Police warned the public against issuing alarming utterances concerning coronavirus.
“It’s contravening Section 171 of the Penal Code Act, and this Section specifically talks about spreading infectious disease. If you have information that you know that this information that I have can affect or cause the spread of infectious disease, then you go out and start spreading that information thereby you are contravening that Section,” Onyango said.
“That’s the charge that we have preferred against him, but as usual the State Attorney will advise us when our file is complete,” Onyango added.
Onyango further said that they arrested the dramatic Pastor because he’s a leader with a huge following who can easily be carried away by his false remarks, thereby defying government guidelines as far as coronavirus is concerned.
“We arrested Pastor Yiga he’s a leader, he’s a religious leader in this country, very many people follow him, he has followers, that if he talks or if he mentions something, there are people who will take it seriously, there are people who will follow it, there are people who will say our pastor is right and there’s no coronavirus in Uganda, and they start moving anyhow, contravening the guidelines being given from time to time by the Ministry of Health,” Onyango noted.
More to that Onyango says Pastor Yiga will be aligned in courts of law with immediate effect because his case requires urgent attention.
“There are cases which are urgent in nature like Pastor Yiga’s case is an urgent case that court will probably sit and look at it,” Onyango said.