Of pastors, politicians and  other pandemic parasites

Sunday September 26 2021
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By Alan Tacca

Covid-19 has created conditions in which some communications corporations, healthcare specialists, courier service providers and a few others have made serious money. 

There are also, of course, the usual crooks pampered by the NRM regime, who will steal any public money, whether it is for military hardware, office consumables or Covid-19 relief.

These, too, have prospered. Otherwise most Ugandans are experiencing reduced incomes and outright poverty. They have made painful life-style adjustments without screaming, demonstrating or suing the government for instituting the respective restrictions.

However, together as we think we are, some people seem to regard themselves as of such special value that they must sponge on the other citizens.

Take the Pentecostal preachers, whose broadcast stations are spread all over our airwaves. They produce nothing beyond what other religions leaders produce, except talk, and more talk, to fire your emotions. They are like sewing-machines running thousands of stitches in the same one shirt and deluding you that tomorrow every worshipper will miraculously have a new shirt.

The longest ‘adverts’ now running on the broadcast stations owned by these sewing-machines are their relentless appeals for money, often fronting (or exploiting?) the feminine texture of the voices of their spouses to draw sympathy. But when an appeal is too persistent, especially by the well-to-do, it becomes a form of harassment.

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For while these men may be cheap enough to boast about even the limitless supply of bread in their homes, they are generally well-to-do, and they could benefit from Finance minister Matia Kasaija’s advice to private school owners to sell some of their assets instead of begging for financial help. 

Moreover, to their smarter followers, the pastors would deserve help if, instead of exorcising fake demons, they committed themselves to demand justice and more integrity in the public sphere; like the late Archbishop of the Orthodox Church, Jonah Lwanga.
Listening to the Impact FM/ Dream TV morning talk-show last Sunday, we got a sample of their dubious value.

After a classic example of three kettles ganging up against a black pot, in which they trampled former Vice President Edward Ssekandi’s (Catholic) spiritual character for partaking in a beer-on-wheels new car ritual, they (foolishly?) related their own knuckle-on-the-bonnet ritual. Then they spent hours distorting the parable of the Prodigal Son through elaborate constructs of wealth management, losing focus on the intended limited emotional context of estrangement and reconnection.

After that, chat-showman Charles Tumwine could neither stretch his intellect nor deepen his conscience enough to grasp the intense moral passion behind the cryptic question Ms Victoria Sekitooleko recently posed: “What did Hon Mohammad Ssegirinya and Hon Allan Ssewanyana do?”

Tumwine’s response to that conscience-rattling thunder was a childish mockery of Ms Sekitooleko for her apparent ignorance.
It is intriguing that a man with such crass insensitivity has the hubris to masquerade as an ‘apostle’.

If your pastors in the end do not deserve any gifts from the other lockdown sufferers, examine your politicians.
Politicians are lucky. They work like leeches but employ tax mechanisms through a parliamentary and bureaucratic administrative system, helping individual leeches to appear detached.

You can draw your own chart of the good, the bad and the ugly. Two-thirds of the politicians on your chart, the bad and the ugly, do not deserve any pennies from other lockdown victims; but they, like the good, are siphoning from your pocket.

Before these champions, the other pandemic parasites pale in significance. Most are ordinary humans who happen to be less fortunate than you. If you can, help them.

Mr Tacca is a novelist, socio-political commentator.
[email protected]

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