Police in Mityana District Saturday used teargas to disperse members of Buganda Kingdom’s Mbogo Clan.
The clan members had convened at their ancestral site at Mugulu - Ziggoti Town Council to attend a thanks giving prayer for their leader, Mr Gajuule Kayiira Kasibante.
Kasibante served as head of Buganda’s 52 clans for seven years until recently when the Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II replaced him with Omutaka Namwama Augustine Nsereko .
The morning mass led by retired Masaka Diocesan Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa went on well but the function was later disrupted by police officers fired teargas to block more people from accessing the venue. In the ensuing melee, some elderly persons fainted after inhaling teargas. Presidential hopeful and Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, also a member of the clan was among those blocked from accessing the venue.
Ms Rachael Kawala, the Wamala regional police spokesperson, said the police actions were to prevent a big gathering in a bid to stop further spread of Coronavirus which has lready infected 10,455 Ugandans and killed 96.
"We did not stop the bishop from conducting the mass because they observed the SOPs as guided by the Ministry of Health but we stopped the big crowd of people who were heading to the function,” she said.
She said three people were arrested and 10 motorcycles impounded during the fracas.
“Those who disobeyed lawful orders will be arraigned in court when investigations are complete,” Ms Kawala.
Mr Kyagulanyi condemned the police action, saying it was unnecessary to use teargas against a “mere clan meeting of very few people” convened for a cultural event.
“We strongly condemn this blatant disrespect of our culture by the security forces. When did it become a crime for Kyagulanyi to attend a function organized by his clan leaders ?” he asked.
Bishop Kaggwa also condemned police for using excessive force while breaking up civilian crowds.
“What our police have continued to do is a clear sign of lack of professionalism and respect to human dignity. How can you teargas elders who are seated in tents peacefully and observing social distancing?” he wondered.