Police fired teargas which left many clan elders including the clan head, in pain
Buganda Kingdom has condemned the Saturday disruption of a thanksgiving event organised by the Mbogo (buffalo) clan.
Clan members had convened at their ancestral site in Mityana at Mugulu in Zigoti town council to attend a thanksgiving service in honour of their clan leader Omutaka Gajuule Kayiira Kasibante, who until recently was chairperson of the kingdom's Bataka council.
"Buganda Kingdom condemns what the security officers did because it violates our culture and norms. Members of the Mbogo clan had organised prayers to thank God for the service rendered by their clan leader in serving the Kabaka as the chairperson of the Bataka council (clan leaders) for six months," a statement signed by Buganda Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga said.
The main celebrant at the thanksgiving Holy Mass was Masaka Diocese Bishop Emeritus John Baptist Kaggwa.
As the prayers were underway, the Police raided the place and blocked some of the clan members, including National Unity Platform Robert Kyagulanyi and former Makerere University vice-chancellor Prof. Ddumba Ssentamu, one of the clan's elders, from accessing the venue.
Police fired teargas which left many clan elders including the clan head, in pain. The clan head had to be rushed to a nearby health facility for treatment. Kyagulanyi is member of the Mbogo clan.
The Mityana district Police commander, Alex Mwinemukono, said the event had not been cleared by security and contravened COVID-19 guidelines.
"Who told you to organise this event without informing those in authority?" Mwinemukono asked the organisers.
He later allowed the service to proceed but with a fewer people in attendance.
Mayiga explained that the event was organised in compliance with the COVID-19 guidelines.
"The security officers disrupted the function by dispersing the people and firing teargas. Although Bishop Kaggwa was able to finalise the Mass, there was a lot tension," Mayiga said.
He expressed dismay at the security forces' violating of the rights of Ugandans, including the right to practise their culture and norms.
"Members of the Mbogo clan are many and belong to various political inclinations and religions... Going to a clan meeting is like attending church or mosque where people belonging to various political camps go. We condemn the act of blocking some clan members from accessing the venue to be with their clan leader," Mayiga said.
Describing it as disrespectful, Bishop Kaggwa condemned the act of disrupting the Holy Mass. He said he had not experienced such an incident before.
"How can you teargas elders seated in tents peacefully and observing social distancing?" Bishop Kaggwa wondered, saying people with authority should never abuse that power.
Gaajule expressed worry that if security forces could behave in such a manner at a cultural function, what is likely to happen during a political contestation.
Kyagulanyi took to social media and condemned "this blatant disrespect of our culture by the security forces".
"When did it become a crime for Kyagulanyi to attend a function organised by his clan leaders?" he asked.