RUBIRIZI – Police in Rubirizi district, Western Uganda on Monday used teargas to disperse hundreds of mourners who defied presidential directives on social gatherings in the face of coronavirus.
The mourners had gathered in Rwandaro village, Rumuri Parish in Kicwamba Sub county to send off John Muhabura, a driver of MotaEngil, a company constructing Kasese-Rubirizi road. Muhabura died on Sunday after falling off a motorcycle.
But attempts by Mr Kennedy Ochaya, the officer in charge of Rubirizi district central police station, to appeal to the residents to disperse fell on deaf years.
In a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus, the President and the Ministry of Health restricted the number of people to attend social gatherings such as Church services, weddings and burials.
When police saw the people not relenting, they decided to use teargas to full effect.
The chairman of Rwandaro village, John Banturaki, said they are aware
of the presidential directives and medical guidelines but people refused intentionally to follow the guidelines because they loved the late.
‘’We know every presidential directive but we decided to come for the burial because the deceased was loved by every one in the village and the way he died was so astonishing’’ Mr Banturaki said.
Police managed to disperse locals after about an hour.
Mr Ochaya said: ” I used loudspeakers to warn people from gathering on the burial of their resident but they refused yet since the presidential directive on gatherings and social distancing, we have been telling people to respect the guidance of the president but they have refused.”
‘’Our role is to ensure that all presidential directives are adhered to and we must also ensure that Ugandans are safe from the COVID-19 as guided by the ministry of health and the president of the republic of Uganda,’’ Mr Ochaya said.