Ordinand Benon Musiimenta, 49, died of cardiac arrest after he was shot twice in the chest
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has apologised over the gruesome killing of the South Rwenzori Anglican Church minister, Ordinand Benon Musiimenta, who was shot dead on Wednesday as he and his wife were riding to their farm in Karusandara Sub-County.
In a message conveyed by the Kasese Resident District Commissioner, Lt Joe Walusimbi, President Museveni pledged to have the killer soldier brought to book.
"The President has told me to apologise. We are at fault. He told me to have the soldier handled according to the law of the country and the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF)," Walusimbi said.
He was delivering the President's condolences at the burial of the slain cleric at the deceased's home in Kabuga, Karusandara.
Walusimbi delivered sh5m which he handed over to the widow as directed by the President.
He told the hundreds of mourners that thronged the burial, disregarding the COVID-19 prevention measures that the President was to visit Karusandara including the bereaved family in due course.
The RDC, who repeatedly said, "forgive us" rubbished talk that Musiimenta death had been politically motivated, noting that, on the contrary, the deceased was a staunch government supporter.
Soldier to be court-martialled
The Deputy Commanding Officer of the recently established 222 UPDF Mountain Division, Col Cris Ogwal, told the mourners that the soldier, whose particulars hadn't yet been established by press time, was due to be court-martialled in Kasese.Ogwal who represented the Deputy Chief of Defence Forces, said the army had met all the burial expenses and donated sh5m.
"Though mindful of the current COVID-19 pandemic, we shall invite the public to attend the proceedings," he announced, attracting applause from the mourners.
He said after thoroughly following the incident, he had found that the errant soldier acted on his own volition and will as such be held personally accountable.
He said during the incident, the soldiers were chasing thieves in different directions and that when the deceased and his wife arrived, the unit commander let him go but he then ran into the killer soldier who shot the cleric twice in the chest.
"What happened was very unfortunate. At this time, we should not be losing Ugandans at the hands of the very security operatives that are supposed to protect them," Ogwal said.
Bishop implores security forces
In a condolence message read by the diocesan human resource officer, Nelson Walinah, the South Rwenzori Bishop, Rt Rev Dr Jackson Nzerebende, described the cleric's death as a threat to the clergy.
Nzerebende said since the nationwide lockdown started, the clergy had heeded the President's advice to do farming since the contributions by Christians had ceased.
"So, when one of our won dies at the hands of security operatives in the course of this survival effort, it frustrates us further," said Nzerebende.
The district chairperson, Geoffrey Sibendire Bigogo, urged the bereaved family to sue the government and that the errant soldier is dealt with severely.
He urged the army leadership to resume some of the very deterrent discipline measures it used to mete on its wayward soldiers.
He proposed that the army high command to re-introduce punishments like the firing squad, claiming that the army was losing its "original flavour" which he used to admire.
In his sermon, the Rev Canon Nelson Isebagheni Bwambale, the Vicar of Kogere St Phillis Church of Uganda where the late Musiimenta worked before his death, implored the army to revisit the recruitment process.
He noted that the LCs seem to be recommending morally crooked youth, asking the army to do more screening.
Isebagheni urged the mourners to work towards heavenly life noting that death was inevitable and that "what came from the soil to soil it will return."
The Karusandara councillor, Godfrey Dembe Kasozi, implored the District Security Committee, headed by the RDC, to prevail over the security operatives who are allegedly unduly harassing citizens under the guise of enforcing the COVID-19 guidelines.
According to the post-mortem report signed by Dr Peter Muhindo Kibingo, the Kasese Municipal medical health officer, Musiimenta, 49, died of cardiac arrest after he had been shot.
He is survived by eight children in various classes, the youngest aged below five. Over sh1.5m in cash and pledges was raised for the children's school fees.