The Bukedea District COVID-19 Taskforce has issued fresh guidelines in the management of burials services in the district. In the latest guidelines, religious leaders are allowed to conduct funeral services within 30 minutes.
The strict guidelines follow violation of presidential guidelines on burials with communities reverting to large gatherings for the burial of their loved ones. According to the Presidential guidelines, burials are limited to only 20 people with strict adherence to the Standard Operating Procedures.
But some burials in Bukedea attract almost a thousand people. On Monday, a police officer was injured in Kaloke Village when law enforcement officers attempted to disperse mourners at the burial of a popular businessman in the district, Mustafa Owono who died in an accident in Kapchorwa district.
It is reported that more than 800 people turned up for his burial attracting police deployment to disperse the crowd. Greg Oscar Ageca, the East Kyoga Regional Police Spokesman says that two people were arrested during the ensuing scuffle, while the pursuit for several others continues.
Bukedea Resident District Commissioner Geoffrey Okiswa says that any religious leader who fails to adhere to the revised district position will be arrested and prosecuted.
“We resolved to ensure that prayers take a maximum of 30 minutes and the village chairpersons and religious leaders should take charge of the burials in light of the Presidential directives of 20 people at the burial and very strict adherence to SOPs”, he said in a statement.
But the Archdeacon of Bukedea Archdeaconry Venerable Peter James Okiror says that the time given to them is not sufficient to conduct a service for the departed. He says that instead of restricting religious leaders to conduct service within 30 minutes, the authorities should manage crowds at the burials.
Besides people violating presidential directives at burials, some weekly markets have resumed operations but managers claim it is only for food items.