A controversial Ugandan pastor who said the deadly coronavirus is just a ‘common flu’ has been arrested for ‘uttering false information and spreading harmful propaganda.’
Pastor Augustine Yiga of Revival Church Kawaala in Rubaga division in Kampala, in a video that has since gone viral, doubted the existence of Coronavirus in Uganda.
He said: “Whether Government imprisons me, I don’t care, but I am speaking the truth, there is no Coronavirus in Uganda. They say Rwanda has over 40 cases, how comes no one has passed on? Do they want to say Rwanda has better treatment than China and Italy?”
Yiga added: “The President said Uganda has 18 cases and that they’re responding to treatment, does he want to say Uganda has better treatment than Italy, China, and the US? Has Tanzania reported any deaths? Kenya reported one death but I think the victim died from other complications not Coronavirus. Coronavirus is this common flu and cold that Africans have grown up with.”
Workers in the 'Jesus Industry' have started dismissing COVID-19. Lockdown has hit them hard. "Abizayo" Augustine Yiga, Founder of a Church & Proprietor of ABS TV looks straight in the camera and declares Coronavirus to be flu we have been suffering from.#Twerwaneko pic.twitter.com/CZnM55HuSp
— Ronald Muhinda (@RonaldMuhinda) March 28, 2020
Confirming his arrest on Sunday evening, Police in Kampala said in a statement: “The Pastor is suspected to have said, in a video recording branded by BBS TV, that the Covid-19 is not in Uganda. The video that went viral undermines government efforts in fighting the pandemic and exposes the public to dangers of laxity in observing the guidelines issued.”
Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango said the clergyman will be questioned over the statements that misled members of the public.
“The action of Pastor Iga promotes the spread of the COVID 19 and can, therefore, be considered as a direct attack on the people of the Republic of Uganda,” Onyango said in a statement.
“Therefore, the suspect, who is currently detained at Old Kampala Police Station will be interviewed to establish the motive behind the dangerous utterances,” he added.
On Sunday, Uganda confirmed that the number of people who have tested positive for coronavirus (Covid-19) has jumped from 23 to 30.
“To date, a total of 1,175 cases are under follow up; 876 of these are under institutional quarantine while 299 are under self-quarantine. A total of 1,596 high-risk travelers have completed their 14 days of follow-up and have been issued with certificates of completion of the mandatory quarantine,” the ministry said when announcing the seven new cases.