Uganda Arrests Controversial Pastor for Denying Coronavirus Outbreak on Television

Augustine Yiga

A controversial pastor in Uganda could face up to seven years of prison after being arrested for allegedly denying on television that there is a coronavirus outbreak in Africa.

Augustine Yiga, the pastor of Revival Christian Church in Kawaala, was charged Monday for the alleged crime of committing an act likely to spread infectious disease. Yiga made remarks that were broadcast on several television stations including BBS TV and Spark TV last weekend.

According to the Ugandan daily news outlet New Vision, the 43-year-old father of eight was remanded back into police custody by magistrate Timothy Lumunye for violating section 171 of the Ugandan penal code criminalizing conduct that is likely to spread infectious disease.

Prosecutors allege that Yiga said during televised remarks that “there is no coronavirus in Uganda and Africa.” Yiga’s comments come as there are at least 48 cases of novel coronavirus in Uganda as of Saturday with no related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center.

Worldwide, there have been over 1 million confirmed cases and over 60,100 related deaths since the start of the outbreak in December.

Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson Patrick Onyango told media outlets that Yiga’s assertion undermines efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 and the Ministry of Health guidelines for citizens.

On Monday, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni ordered a 14-day national lockdown.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith