By Fr. Dr. Ambrose J. Bwangatto
A lot has been said and written about the state of our dear country Uganda since the latest gruesome murder of Hon. Ibrahim Abiriga. Hon. Abiriga’s grisly murder adds to the statistics of the people whose life ended in the same fate. In the list, we remember former Minister of Energy Hon. Andrew Kayiira, scores of Muslim Sheikhs, Prosecutor Joan Kagezi, former AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi, Major Sulaiman Kiggundu. We cannot forget the many young women who have been LOST in mysterious circumstances. Such murders elicit sentiments of trepidation in the population and people postulate all kinds of conspiracy theories as hypotheses to describe these unfortunate incidences. And, President Museveni used a harsh description of the killers of Abiriga as ‘pigs’ and ‘parasites’. By using the imagery of a pig to describe the killers and murderers roaming on Ugandan roads, I suppose the President was calculative because the pig, in popular culture, is synonymous with negative attributes, especially greed, gluttony, and uncleanliness although countless people relish in its flesh.
Murders, that is, the intentional killing of an innocent person with malice forethought, are reported almost in all cultures. This is because, regrettably, murder is distinctly woven in human history and ever since the advent of mankind on earth, there have been records of violent crime and murders. For Christians, the first murder is recorded in the first pages of the Bible when Cain slit the throat of his brother Abel and even rudely answered God who asked him about the whereabouts of his brother. The Bible says, God asked Cain: “Where is Abel your brother?” Cain said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9).
But, even though this state of affairs prevails, there has never been any singular society to give outright approval of murder. Rather, murder is condemned strongly because it nullifies the moral code which mankind ought to strictly observe. And, all murders negate that innate moral law inscribed on the human heart which calls for the respect of the life of the other and never disrupt it. Some of us who believe in the afterlife believe that murderers would have to occupy the very lowest rung of hell. Not to justify the rest but the crime of murder makes all other crimes pale in comparison.
Murder involves not only robbing a person of all his current belongings; it also involves robbing him of all possessions he would ever earn and enjoy in the future. Murder is a definitive interruption of those intimate relationships that constitute human existence, that is, between parent and child, sibling and sibling, colleague and colleague, spouse and spouse. All of these relationships, all at once, are discontinued never to return. The murderer, as it were, restrains the victim from all future dates, outings, time with children and parents, all of it is reduced to nothingness in a flash.
Whenever something evil happens, our first reaction is that the world is coming to annihilation and humanity is on the brink of total extermination. But, in such a scenario, there’s a Luganda adage: Ekibi kikira engoma okulawa literally translated “Evil sounds louder than the drum” which is my consolation. The adjective evil and all its 76 synonyms plus 179 related words, definitions, and antonyms represent all that people loathe and hate.
But, despite its numerical abundance linguistically, evil has never had the last word to define human destiny. Evil has never triumphed over God’s goodness although its momentary effects are always ominous! In his teaching, St. John Paul II, stated that it could be said that human history is marked from the very beginning by the limit God the Creator places upon evil. In a word, there are limits imposed upon evil. Evil of which man is both a perpetrator and victim has never outlived its outcomes, because evil is not absolutely unlimited. More broadly, no absolute evil exists. Evil has its limits; however extensive its presence may seem. The victims of Uganda’s murder crimes would be mentioned and kept for eternity while the perpetrators would keep hiding in shame and remorse.
The names of the murderers will never be mentioned in public! But, the victims would continue to live and their names mentioned with pride for having endured. The most glorious example we have in Uganda are the Uganda Martyrs who were brutally killed en-masse but keep inspiring our Christian history while their tormentors are relegated to the periphery of general discourse. So, evil and its perpetrators would be confined to the most limited spaces in human life.
Lastly, murderers and evil doers will live in continuous hiding up to eternity and their evil acts limit their names to dark spaces of history.
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