By Agaba Nathan
Police in Kisoro have arrested former Minister and Bufumbira South Member of Parliament, Sam Bitangaro for contravening Coronavirus guidelines by holding a massive rally in his constituency.
Videos of the massive rally held at Kabindi playground in Nyarusiza sub-county in Kisoro district made rounds on social media with a number of commentators blasting police for not arrested the legislator for violating the Coronavirus guidelines.
However, according to the Kigezi region police spokesperson, Elly Maate, police led by the Kisoro DPC, Christopher Ruhunde swung into action to disperse the rally but due to the band terrain, by the time they arrive, the gathering had already left.
“Police responded and found when the gathering had already been done with as the MP talked to people briefly and continued to other villages of the same sub-county.
The DPC then detailed more personnel on ground who prevented further gatherings at Buhangura, Karambi, Mubande and Bushoka trading centres all in Nyarusiza sub-county,”Maate said.
He said that efforts to have the area Member of Parliament arrested went futile as he switched off his known phone numbers, whereas his political assistant’s phones went unanswered.
“Later in the evening, we traced and eventually arrested the MP and is now detained at Kisoro Central Police Station pending court. He has been charged with doing negligent act likely to spread an infectious disease, contrary to section 171 of the Penal Code Act and disobedience of lawful orders,” the police spokesperson said.
The development comes on the backdrop of a directive by President Museveni to the Inspector General of Police, John Martins Okoth Ochola to arrest government officials and ministers violating Covid-19 guidelines.
“Regarding the politicians that have been gathering people contrary to the guidelines, my order to the IGP is now out. No public meetings of any type have been allowed since March except the ones following the guidelines,”Museveni said.
“In the past, the politicians (Aceng, Anite, etc.) were pleading that the people were gathering against their will. The order now is that do not put yourself in a situation where people gather around you. If you do, we shall arrest you.”