14 arrested for obstructing census exercise in Pallisa

Pallisa, (UG):- The Police in eastern Uganda’s Pallisa District are holding 14 individuals who were arrested from various sub counties on allegations of obstructing the ongoing National Population and Housing Census.

The suspects, who claim affiliation to a cult identified as Kanyiriri Religion, allegedly refused to be counted, citing religious beliefs that being counted is a sin and goes against their deity.

Police identified the suspects as; Galandi James, 50, Ngai Michael, 52, Kapezevu Mesulamu, 24, Sisye Bernard, 26, Byansi Coloneli, 50, and Zunga Innocent, a 21-year-old resident of Natoro village, Buseta subcounty, Kibuku District.

Others are; Benya Sam, a 22-year-old resident of Budaula village, Tyakuma Joseph, a 20-year-old resident of Mpungi Central B village, Majanga John, a 24-year-old resident of Kunama Village, Tom John, a 17-year-old resident of Mpugi Central B, Mbulamaye Balaki, a 47-year-old resident of Bulumba village, Yongosa Wagunika, a 45-year-old resident of Buyesi village, Kayendeke Alice, a 60-year-old resident of Karapata village, and Nakelo Teopistor, a 30-year-old resident of Karapata village, Kamuge subcounty.

The suspects’ refusal to participate in the census extended to their unwillingness to disclose their personal information, fearing that their identities could be exploited for malicious purposes. However, with the assistance of their Chairman, LC 1, the police were able to obtain their details.

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The Acting Public Relations Officer of Bukedi North Region Police, SP Semewo Samuel confirmed the report and said all the 14 individuals have been charged with Refusal and Neglecting to be counted, a violation of Section 28(3)(b) of the UBOS Act Cap 310, as indicated in the Pallisa CRB 191/2024.

He emphasized the importance of cooperation in government programmes saying; “Obstructing a national census is a serious offense, and we urge all citizens to recognize its significance and fully participate in such initiatives.”

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The detained individuals are expected to appear in court to face the charges leveled against them. The outcome of their case will shed light on the boundaries between religious freedom and civic responsibilities in the context of national surveys.

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