Commentary

What is the right time to confess your sins?

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By Odoobo C. Bichachi

Posted  Saturday, December 21  2013 at  02:00

In Summary

Gen Sejusa’s confession and change of political direction has been received with a mixture of apprehension and disdain.

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Lt Gen David Sejusa aka Tinyefuza’s speech at the launch of Freedom and Unity Front (FUF) in London has kicked up a lot of debate on social media and in the bars in Uganda (in hushed tones), not just because of his confession that he participated in cheating Dr Kizza Besigye of his victory in the 2006 elections but also because he threw the old biblical question on the table. When is the right time to get “saved” and how should new “converts” be treated?

First, to the election confession! Yes, many Ugandans have known that a lot of things were not right about the 2006 elections – and indeed all elections from 1980. The violence, the mixing up of results, the cash bribes, etc was all too apparent. What one could not put a finger to was the scale in real numbers, something Gen Sejusa attempted to do last week although his mathematics did not add up i.e. 69 per cent for Besigye plus 50 something per cent for Museveni is more than 100 per cent!

In 2009, challenged Electoral Commission chief Badru Kiggundu during a meeting to give me the official results of my polling station Bwerero A in Samia-Bugwe South Constituency so that I compare it with the results my sister who was a polling agent had recorded and kept from the information I had, the results at the polling station seemed to be different from what was announced at the district and probably at Namboole. He promised to do so as he was sure there was no anomaly but after a few follow-up telephone conversations, the communication broke down.
Now, it appears there was possibly another set of results for my polling station and many others from across the country crafted at Basiima House, according to Gen Sejusa.

The government and the EC have refused to be drawn into arguments with Gen Sejusa over whether indeed Besigye’s victory was stolen or not and this is understandable because who knows what else may be thrown up in the ensuing exchange.

Confessions are a good thing not just because they are liberating to the soul, but they also clear many things for the victims and give a way forward. When President Museveni confessed to Rwandans two or so years ago that Uganda was full of thieves, it rested many questions that the president was ambivalent to the theft of public funds that was going on in every nook of government. The test, therefore, is on what happens after the confession: do we play different or do we go back to the old “sinful” ways?

Ugandans will be watching Gen Sejusa as they watch the EC and President Museveni to see how this plays out – wrongly or rightly.
Now, to my second point, what is the right time to repent and start doing good and how should you be received? Priests will argue that it is never too late to turn to God, but of course the earlier the better for your soul for you never know when the hour is coming!

But that is in the spiritual world. In the real world, especially the world of politics, it might never be too late to change but the damage inflicted by one’s delay to see the light is often heavy in terms of monetary resources and human life. For the case of Uganda, it took several deaths, years of human rights abuses et al for many people – including those who have attained the best education in the world – to confess that the Movement is not a system of government but just another political party.

It has taken many leaders to lose and election or fall on hard times to confess that many things are going wrong in the country and interestingly for many of them, when the bad times pass and they return to government, they make another confession that they were mistaken; all is well.

If former Attorney General Prof Khidu Makubuya was asked what reception to give a man like Sejusa who has been part of the system that has committed all the wrongs he mentions, he would possibly say inspite of his confession, he is not at the same level of innocence as say Olara Otunnu who from word go said Movement was a “fraud”. That is what he thought about Besigye in 2005.

It is therefore apparent that we should not judge people by their date of renunciation, rather they should be judged by their actions thereafter. For instance what has President Museveni done to arrest and punish the thieves after his confession in Rwanda? In the coming months, Ugandans will have opportunity to judge Gen Sejusa.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com