Currently, the prize for the longest radio advertisement could go to Top Radio. Those who have the time for the kind of television programming on the menu, probably find the same advert on Top TV.
In the advert, the Christian Life Church proprietor (and therefore Top Radio and Top TV boss), Pr Jackson Senyonga, is planning to go to Bunyoro on a spiritual cleansing mission. His task: to reverse the damage done by the late self-deified Owobusobozi Bisaka. Senyonga wants to preach the ‘correct’ Christian gospel and establish the ‘correct’ form of worship.
It seems that Senyonga has set himself up as a kind of director of God’s Bureau of Spiritual Standards. He presents himself as equipped to separate the frauds from the truthful prophets, and to fight the frauds.
So, after God had given Owobusobozi Bisaka a very long life to spread his version of divine truth, and this same man-God has passed on and is apparently lying peacefully in his mausoleum, Senyonga is determined to undo Bisaka’s work.
Naturally, Senyonga will also spread his version of divine truth and build churches to manipulate and brainwash Bisaka’s people so that they turn their loyalty and their tithes to Senyonga. You can call it grabbing the followers of the dead.
Other opportunists and close family members would probably haggle over things like land, houses, cars, even saucepans. A shrewd Senyonga has spotted and is targeting the followers. Apart from earning praise for ‘rescuing’ lost Banyoro believers, Senyonga can raise completely free capital from his followers for his enterprise. Hence the longest radio advert, which gives a string of Senyonga’s bank and mobile money accounts.
Our prominent pastors may not yet have private jets, but circumstantial evidence shows that there is some intriguing mathematics behind their relentless and often shameless fundraising and their great affluence. And it is the mathematics of a dishonest society.
Last Sunday, I wondered aloud (on this page) who would redeem Ugandans from the silly interpretations of various problems that are being propagated by fanatical Christians and witchdoctors. Far from being fools, these are smart operators deliberately taking advantage of their vulnerable clients. Their fake interpretations have been made ‘normal’ by a dishonest society.
On the same Sunday, some key players in the Victory Church-controlled Impact FM/Dream TV talk-shows, including supremo Joseph Serwadda, spent a lot of broadcast time discussing the Kabaka’s poor health and related matters. They sounded like greatly concerned friends.
However, for years, the same broadcasting outfit, controlled by the same super-fundraiser, has been consistently used to undermine the Kabaka’s institution and to insult his officials, especially when that institution creates channels to make money to finance its activities. Maybe you did not notice, because this kind of hypocrisy is ‘normal’ in a dishonest society.
When senior central government officials speak on weighty subjects, like when they vow to fight corruption, or swear to respect the Constitution, or endorse protocols to observe human rights, or promise to protect your land and make you rich, or sing about the environment, the most natural public assumption is that they are blatantly lying or being hypocritical.
The NRM started on this course of moral self-destruction way back in its infancy. The infection has spread. Lying and hypocrisy are now a cancer that has eaten into every aspect of the general social fabric. Whatever else it may achieve, the NRM will leave the legacy of a dishonest society.
Mr Tacca is a novelist, socio-political commentator.