MPIGI – Kampala Catholic Archdiocese has accused security agencies of practicing double standards in the arrest of Fr Deogratius Kiibi, saying the priest was broadcasting mass with less than five congregants in accordance with the government guidelines on preventing the spread of coronavirus.
Fr. Kiibi was arrested from St Joseph Parish in Mpigi Town on Sunday, Match 29, with security agencies claiming that he was conducting mass contrary to the presidential directives.
But Rev. Fr Joseph Nkeera, the Kampala Archdiocesan Communication Secretary, is quoted by Uganda Radio Network, as saying that Fr Kiibi was conducting mass with less than five people and the mass was broadcast via electronic media.
Rev. Nkeera added that this was in line with the presidential directives, explaining that the arrest of Father Kiibi could have been a confusion of directives or application of double standards.
He stresses that on several media including national television, different religious leaders have been seen delivering services to the faithfuls and observing a minimum of at least five to ten people, without counting the television crew members.
Fr Kiibi himself is quoted by Uganda Radio Network saying that he did not commit any crime.
“…we were recording the service for the faithfuls as guided. A number of soldiers, far many than the people I was with, all armed to the teeth came in accusing us of breaching the presidential directive,” Fr. Kiibi is quoted as saying.
To him, the security operatives could have been misguided.
Recently the Archbishop of Kampala, Dr Cyprian Kizito Lwanga issued a decree indicating that the faithful are dispensed from personally attending the Sunday obligation during this period when public gatherings are banned. He, however, observed that the Church would continue to reach out to the faithfuls via the available means of social communication.
Since the issuance of presidential directives banning public gatherings in the face of coronavirus, several religious leaders have been arrested for allegedly defying the procedures.