Pentecostal Pastor, Augustine Yiga, will remain on remand until April 16 after court yesterday did not deliver the ruling on his application for bail.
Pastor Yiga of Revival Church in Kawaala in Rubaga Division of Kampala was remanded last week on charges of uttering false information and spreading harmful propaganda likely to cause the spread of the deadly Covid-19 disease. He was charged before Mwanga II Magistrate’s Court.
The Magistrate, Mr Timothy Lumunye, remanded Mr Yiga to Kitalya prison for one week pending the ruling on his bail application. However, when the matter came up yesterday, court said the ruling was extended to April 16.
The prison authorities also did not present Mr Yiga in the court. His lawyer, Mr Wilber Kayiwa, said no reason was given by the prison officers as to why his client was not present.
“We pray that court works with prisons through video conferencing to see that they can handle the matter,” he said.
The prisons service spokesperson, Mr Frank Baine, explained that they did not present Mr Yiga in court because they were adhering to the guidelines issued by the Chief Justice Bart Katureebe to avoid the spread of coronavirus.
“We were advised by the Justice Katureebe that a prisoner can only be presented in court upon completing the formalities of bail in order to avoid contamination,” Mr Baine said, adding that they also needed confirmation from court that Mr Yiga’s bail process had been completed. He said prisoners on remand can only be presented via video conferencing.
Last week, Mr Yiga applied for bail, he said he is diabetic and the sole bread winner of the family of eight children and needed to attend trial while coming from home.
Background. Prosecution states that on March 27 at his Revival Christian Church in Kawaala in Kampala District while appearing before BBS, Spark, NBS, and Sanyuka television cameras, Pastor Yiga uttered words ‘there is no coronavirus in Uganda and Africa’ which were broadcasted, well knowing or having reason to believe such statements were likely to cause further spread of coronavirus disease. In the video which went viral on social media, the TV host is heard asking Pastor Yiga whether his claim is backed by a spiritual vision from God. However, the pastor avoids the question and instead argues that coronavirus is just flu which has been already existing on the continent.
Pastor Yiga commonly known as ‘abizaayo’ was arrested on March 28.