A 39-year-old man is in police detention after he was arrested for allegedly slapping Minister of State for Works and Transport, Mr Musa Ecweru during Sunday mass at St. Michael Catholic Church in Wera Sub County in Amuria District.
It’s alleged that the minister who is also the Amuria County MP, was attending prayers at the church when Mr Michael Okurut, a resident of Wera attacked him.
The minister had reportedly gone to deliver a tractor handed to Wera Catholic Parish by Ministry of Agriculture.
Sources that witnessed the 11:30am incident told this publication on conditions of anonymity that Okurut quietly and meekly entered the church building and walked to the altar where he made the sign of the cross before he approached the unsuspecting minister who was busy giving a speech to the congregation and slapped him on the ear sending shockwaves into the congregation.
“He came quietly and even performed the sign of the cross. I thought he would locate himself a seat like other members of the congregation were doing but he instead walked to the minister and whispered something before he slapped the minister hard on the ear,” a source said and added
“He attempted to slap the minister for the second time but he blocked his hand before his escorts who were waiting from outside rushed into the church and subdued him (Okuru).”
Mr Oscar Ageca, the acting police spokesperson for East Kyoga said Okurut was arrested and taken to Wera police station for interrogations.
“A case of assault was opened at Wera Police station where statements were recorded and the suspect is detained as inquiries and investigation into the matter is expedited,” Mr Ageca said.
When contacted by this publication, Mr Ecweru described the suspect as mentally ill.
“We have established his background information. We have confirmed that he was a mad man. His madness attacks him occasionally and when he suffers he is wild and violent,” Mr Ecweru said.
In May 2021, Minister Ecweru roughed up three Anglican priests over a land dispute.
The wrangle pits St John’s Church of Uganda Wera and the neighbouring Wera Seed Secondary School, both in Amuria District.
The Minister left one of the reverends bleeding on the head.
He had claimed that the church encroached on the school land he lobbied for.
The injured clergy were Simon Peter Olato, Benjamin Otasuro, and Peter Eriku.
Witnesses at the time said the minister parked at Wera Seed Secondary School and dashed to a nearby garden where he found the priests and other Christians planting cassava stems.
Rev Olato told reporters that the minister, accompanied by a bodyguard, on arrival called them “idiots” and questioned who gave them authority to open a garden on school land.
“As we looked on in awe, [the minister] pulled a gun and grabbed a metallic rod from the hands of his bodyguard [and] began to sporadically beat us,” he said.
Rev Olato said when he inquired why the minister had pounced on them, the attacker instead reached out to the car for more canes which they used to beat them indiscriminately for about 10 minutes.
He would later reconcile with them.