Regional Vice Chairman for the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) Capt. Mike Mukula has disputed reports pinning him over use of Church premises for a political meeting while places of worship were closed due to the covid-19 pandemic.
A video clip that circulated in media on Monday, showed Capt. Mukula addressing a group of National Resistance Movement (NRM) leaders and supporters in Church premises in Bugisu Sub region, despite the ban on political gatherings on account of stopping the spread of coronavirus.
Another report also showed Constitutional Affairs minister Ephraim Kamuntu, also meeting his supporters in a church in Bushenyi District.
This has since raised public concern over use of Churches for political gatherings and in complete disregard for guidelines to prevention of covid-19.
Politicians especially from the opposition have blamed the government for its failure to open churches and yet they are being used for political gatherings.
In a tweet he posted on Tuesday, Mukula however disputed the reports claiming the meeting observed standard operation procedures for covid-19 prevention. He also claims the meeting was in a community hall not a Church.
“The meeting in Mbale city for Bugisu region observed the health protocols, sanitized, temperature gun, MUSKS police permission and cover , doctor present , secluded area …community hall” Mukula posted.
Reliable sources have however confirmed that the meeting Mukula held was at Oasis of Life Church, Nkokonjeru in Mbale District.
We have also established that the the Church is located next to NRM party offices and both the offices and Church building are owned by the same landlord.
In the video clip, Mukula who is aspiring to retain his position as NRM Vice Chairman for Eastern Region is heard telling the congregants how they have reaped big in having Mbale municipality elevated to city status.
Mukula attributes the development to President Museveni who is also the national chairman of the ruling NRM party.
Contrary to what Mukula says, some of the congregants in the meeting had no face masks as prescribed in SOPs issued by the ministry of health to stop spread of coronavirus.
As the country is already moving into a political election season, a section of the public also fear that the gesture by government aligned politicians is a recipe for impunity during the campaign season while others predict selective application of laws during election period.
Places of worship were closed by a presidential directive in March this year which enforced a ban on public gatherings to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Uganda.
Four months down the road, agitation for opening of places of worship has intensified following phased the lifting of lockdown which has seen a few sectors of the economy opened.
The phased lifting of the lockdown however has been perceived by a section of the public as inappropriate with religious leaders claiming that places of worship should have also been opened to allow faithfuls to worship during these tough times.
Religious leaders also claim they are able to control their congregants and enforce standard operation procedures in the prevention of spread of covid-19.