Response to President Museveni’s New Year message to the nation

We want to see an orderly country where the police are not infiltrated by criminals, we want to see motorists respecting zebra crossing, we want to see investigations of murders concluded. We do not want to see Kifeesi terrorising our people.

 

BY David Kayumba

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Now that President Museveni has spoken the language of the Bible, will he remove the presidential robe and become a clergyman? For a long time, I have watched with surprise each time our beloved President has attacked church leaders for speaking out on matters affecting our nation. These attacks have been propagated by some government functionaries.

Supposing the church leaders and other theologians said to our politicians that they should not comment on religious matters since it is not their operational area, would anyone take them serious? Not at all!

No one has a monopoly of religion or politics. Human beings are political in nature and an in the same way, they are hopelessly religious. Therefore, it is high time that Museveni and his government stop peddling utterances that religious leaders are not supposed to say anything about politics.

While State and governments are creatures of the people, religion is not. The church is conscious of the people.

Religion plays a very important role in the lives any people. People can live without governments, but they cannot live without a religion that answers existential and the afterlife questions. Please, what you don’t know ask and you will know. Don’t undermine the role of the church in society and I mean real churches. Look around and see what the Catholic, Anglican and Adventist Churches have done in society.

All Ugandans (including religious leaders) have right to determine how they should be governed. They also have obligations to the nation of Uganda.

In fact, the church in Uganda has given Museveni a blank cheque for three decades. Thanks to what Museveni referred to in his speech as neglect of what “they ought to have done” (the prophetic mission of the Church).

This challenge should awaken the church to start preaching liberation theology because our country is not yet liberated from the tyranny of the greedy leaders, especially Members of Parliament.

The President ought to know that we Ugandans appreciate all his contributions to nation building in the process of serving himself as he indicated some time back. However, his sacrifices do not give him the right to override the wishes of us all. The 317 MPs served their selfish interests, not his and certainly not ours.

In fact, had the clergy executed the church’s prophetic mission, some leaders would have retired long ago.

Remember that the clergy are much more schooled than NRM cadres and they possess ecclesiastical power that is far more lethal than the State machinery. Of course, any clergyman worthy the name must exercise his power in the light of our master Jesus who lived among men.

You talk about sacrifice and yet you know that the only person in history who placed His life on the line for others is Jesus Christ. I marvel at how you keep on talking of safeguarding the Africans from impending imperialism! Do you really think Botswana needs you? Does the future of South Africa depend on you?

Ugandans voted you in power to serve their national interests. We cannot care about the interests of our neighbours before our interests are served. Countries do not have friends, but interests. Countries relate for trade and collective security. The duty as of government is to ensure the security of our borders, allocation of resources and the provision of justice.

Therefore, before you tell us about East African Community, we want to see service delivery, we want to see an Executive that respects the independence of the Judiciary and Parliament.

We want to see an orderly country where the police are not infiltrated by criminals, we want to see motorists respecting zebra crossing, we want to see investigations of murders concluded. We do not want to see Kifeesi terrorising our people.

Only then can you tell us about East African Community. Some countries in this community have failed to provide acceptable governance where human rights are respected, others have failed to open up political space, and they think they will hide in the so-called East African federation. Mr President, you know very well that there will never be a politically integrated East Africa.

Why do you want us to waste our energies on a hopeless venture? Can you show us any region in Africa or even in Europe where political integration of sovereign nations has succeeded? Nowhere.

The President accused the clergy of arrogance, but I find it ironic. You know it is immoral for MPs to extend their life in Parliament for two years. But here you are praising these MPs who are even afraid of meeting their electors!

Listening to the voice of the minority is a rare wisdom. Pontius Pilate did not have the wisdom and the courage to listen to the voice of minority (his wife), and he ended up crucifying an innocent Man.

To listen to the voice of the minority requires an ability to stand against the pressure of the majority. It calls for a stand on a moral ground.

I am sure you are a bright president who knows international politics. We Ugandans plead with you not to lead us into temptations of beginning to distrust you. You are a father to millions of young Ugandans, and a brother to millions.

Please maintain your honourable position.
Having said this, I thank our president for the way he has in most cases conducted himself. He does not fear debates like some other presidents. He is indeed an intellectual and civil.

Mr Kayumba is the Euro-Africa Evangelism coordinator, Good News Unlimited.

kayumbadavid@yahoo.com

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