What you need to know:
- The Leader of Opposition in Parliament says religious leaders are change agents and that their voices should not be silenced
The Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Mathias Mpuuga has slammed police detectives for what he described as intimidation and attempts to silence the voices of religious leaders who speak against the excesses of the regime.
"The ongoing attempt to charge Fr Mugisha on tramped up murder charges is an attempt to try and silence the voices of reason in the country and in Masaka; something we must challenge,” Mr Mpuuga said during the burial ceremony of Angela Nabukenya Kasumba, a resident of Gulama village, Buwunga Sub County in Masaka District on Monday.
The Nyendo-Mukungwe Division MP’s statement comes days after police indicted Rev Fr Richard Mugisha of Bisanje Parish in Masaka over a man who died in police custody at Masaka Police Station.
Police allege that on the night of October 13 at Bisanje Catholic Parish, Rev Fr Mugisha and one Joseph Mutayomba beat up Ronald Kyeyune, 30, who died a few hours later.
On the fateful night, Kyeyune reportedly broke into Fr Mugisha’s residence located at Bisanje Catholic Parish. He was found in the priest’s car and handed over to police before he died.
"I want to appeal to whoever has any responsibility, especially in police to ask for leave of duty to avoid looking like fools. Our children can no longer admire putting on your uniform because they see you as nuisance. This is our country, we should not be scared of anyone," Mr Mpuuga said at the burial ceremony.
Fr Mugisha is one of the priests who have been speaking against the regime's excesses.
“By framing him, the police are working to silence the clergy,” Mr Mpuuga said.
According to the MP, religious leaders have a duty to liberate Uganda through their preaching.
“They should not be intimidated despite the threats against them. You should not fear any more threats,” he said.
The burial attracted a number of dignitaries, including Masaka Bishop Serverus Jjumba, priests from Masaka diocese and political leaders, among others.
Early this week, police denied allegations of trying to frame the priest.
According to the Force’s spokesperson, Fred Enanga, detectives are investigating a murder offence and therefore, those found culpable will have to answer in the courts of law.
“The suspected car thief was subjected to torture. When in custody, the guards realized the suspect was not feeling fine. In the process of taking him to the hospital, he passed away…There is misinformation circulating that the Reverend Father is being witch-hunted because of his previous [political] stand, and this is not true. We are investigating a crime of murder, and the perpetrators should be brought to book. It is not about a particular ideology, whether by government or opposition or NUP,” he said at a press conference in Kampala on Monday.
Any decisions that will come out of the investigations will be based on facts and not politics, according to CP Enanga.