Sunday December 27 2009

Brig. Gwanga opens fire at Xmas prayer

A photo montage of Brig. Kasirye Gwanga and

A photo montage of Brig. Kasirye Gwanga and worshippers. File photos 

By Mike Ssegawa & Ephraim Kasozi

Presidential Advisor on security in Buganda, Brig. Kasirye Ggwanga, brought business at Makindye Magistrates Court trading centre a few kilometres south of Kampala City to a standstill after he disrupted a Christmas Eve prayer crusade with gunfire.

At about half past five o’clock on Thursday evening, Brig. Ggwanga arrived at the centre and ordered the crusade leader who had just launched into his sermon to stop the session before he opened fire, causing the pastor to run for dear life leaving his flock stranded with gunmen for company.

Brig. Ggwanga, assisted by his escort, then unplugged electric cables, kicked and threw around chairs while lecturing a few bystanders who were brave enough to stay on why such a prayer meeting should not take place in an area that houses important people like him.

“I have no regret about what I did and we shall continue to fight this wrong which is putting people’s lives at risk. They forget the fact that it is expensive to buy land in that area,” he said, adding, “We all studied religion and love it, but we cannot practice it at the expense of other people’s freedom.” “I want to rest. And you cannot go ahead to make noise for me when I am resting.”

Residential area?
“Our area is residential but they just come and start shouting and moreover this one on Christmas Eve. This was the only way to show them that we don’t need them in that place and we cannot allow this in our areas, where you cannot even listen to radio because of noise of which you are not informed,” Brig. Ggwanga later told Sunday Monitor in a telephone interview.
He said: “Let them practice their freedom of worship from churches other than depriving us of the freedom we have. Some of us are security minded but these people gather youngsters of 10 to 13 years in holiday purporting to teach them religion up to late in the night which is wrong.”

The planned three-day crusade thus ended prematurely. The crusade leader declined to comment about the incident, but Christians who huddled around in groups attacked the army officer for his conduct. “His actions were uncalled for. He might be a tough soldier but before God all of us are nothing,” they murmured.

The Defence and Army Spokesman, Lt. Col. Felix Kulayigye, yesterday said the matter was under investigation by Police at Katwe. He said that if the Police needs support from the army, they would give maximum cooperation.

“If the Brigadier committed an offence, he will face the law. We don’t intend to cover up anything,” Lt. Col. Kulayigye told Sunday Monitor in a telephone interview.