SOROTI – Three clergymen are nursing injuries, reportedly sustained, after Uganda’s Disaster Preparedness junior minister – Musa Francis Echweru, in the company of his guards attacked.
The priests, who sustained multiple body injuries, were treated at St. Peter’s Medical Centre in Soroti on Saturday.
According to eye witnesses, Minister Ecweru, with assistance from his bodyguard – Juma Odiope, on Saturday – May 8, battered Rev. Simon Peter Olato – the Parish Priest of Wera Church of Uganda; and two of his subordinates – Benjamin Otasono and Simon Peter Eriku of Aten and St. John churches, respectively.
Sources said that following the incident, Ecweru’s young brother Robert Adiama, who doubles as the Soroti, Resident City Commissioner, offered to take the victims for treatment but the deal aborted.
The minister, known for his highhandedness approach in resolving disputes, faulted the clergymen for encroaching on his land situated in Wera Town Council, eye witnesses, said.
The men of God were reportedly planting cassava and tree seedlings in the contested land between the minister and St. John Church of Uganda in Wera – which plantlets Operation Wealth Creation – OWC had provided through a partnership with Soroti Diocese.
“The minister was on a tour of his constituency when he saw the clergymen working in the garden. He suddenly, stopped and confronted the gardeners,” said an eye witness.
Rev. Olato – one of the victims said the minister when the approached the garden, he accorded no time for responses but instead, took the law in his own hands – personally beating him – before he could slap each of his juniors. The Reverend adds that at the time, other people who were working at the garden, were scared and started scampering for dear lives – as the minister ordered his guard – Odiope ‘discipline them’ with a metallic rod.
Minister Echweru’s alleged actions has since attracted the attention of the leadership of Soroti Diocese with Rt. Rev. Kosea Odongo terming the actions as barbaric and unfortunate.
Rt. Rev. Odongo – the Bishop of Soroti Diocese noted that minister Echweru’s conduct in the recent past has left a lot of unanswered questions in the public.
The Bishop said during a press briefing over the matter on Monday, that the public to shun leaders of Echweru’s calibre – appealing to President Museveni Museveni to intervene.
Rev. Olato had earlier revealed that police authorities at the Wera post declined to record the case against the minister, referring the matter to Amuria CPS.
The East Kyoga, acting Police Spokesman, Oscar Ageca claimed that the complainant had misguided the officer at Wera post, forcing him to refer the case. He added that police preliminary investigations pointed to the direction of clergymen attacking the minister after he allegedly inquired about the land.
Efforts to get an independent comment from Minister Echweru were futile because nobody responded to our numerous calls, as well as short messages sent to his known numbers in regard to the matter. We however, pledge to include the minister’s comments in this story as soon as we get them.