‘When the madness of an entire nation disturbs a solitary mind, it is not enough to say the man is mad,’ writes Francis Imbuga in Betrayal in the city (1976). The turmoil of the hard times in Africa and Uganda particularly resonates with what Imbuga writes. Could the madness of one man be the madness of the entire nation? The country has lately been waking up to protest after protest which have become the daily meal. The rampant doom in the country has continued to publicise Uganda in all measures to the whole world. This has not only attracted sympathy from the country men but nationals in the Diaspora. The condemnation of the torture and use of excessive force in the arrest of opposition politicians and their supporters during and after the Arua Municipality parliamentary by-election communicates a lot.
In Masaka, the Municipality Sheikh called for dialogue between the government and Opposition to defuse the current political stalemate in the country. During his teaching at Masaka Main Mosque, Masaka Municipality County Sheikh Twaha Bugembe said the government’s show of might will not bring peace but will instead escalate chaos in the country. “There is also need for electoral reforms as they have always been demanded by civil society organisations, religious leaders and political actors in the opposition because this is hindrance in the journey towards free and fair elections in the country,” he said.
The Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU) also condemned violence and hooliganism that marred the elections of Arua to the extent that many have since lost their lives in the aftermath protests. “We should all remember that violence begets violence and it is ultimately a lose-lose situation for all parties,” the press statement released by IRCU read in part. “Ensure that the members of parliament, their supporters and other persons arrested during the Arua electioneering are treated with dignity in accordance with their rights and that they access justice through open courts of law.”
To crown it all, in our cover story, it is revealed that prayers for the release of Kyandondo East MP Hon. Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine were held at Rubaga Cathedral and the church was filled to the brim and running over with believers. The Rubaga Cathedral Mass brought back memories of when the church would stand tall against the repressive acts of the regime. From the Biblical epochs of Prophet Nathan confronting King David after he killed Uriah and stole his wife Bathsheba, to John the Baptist putting his life on the line for what is right, to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., taking on the racist establishment of his times, not forgetting Archbishop Janan Luwum and evangelist Festo Kivengere challenging unrepentant dictator Idi Amin for his excessive abuse of power, the church has always played an instrumental role in effecting change for the greater good.
In Uganda, the silence of the church on political affairs that have caused gross injustices on innocent citizens has been alarming. However, with the recent Catholic Church-led protests in the Democratic Republic of Congo that dissuaded Joseph Kabila Kabange from manipulating his way into a third unconstitutional term as president, it’s timely that the church in Uganda is waking up.
In the cover story, Dennis Muhumuza notes that, should we conclude that the leaders of this nation should be concerned over the live current of protestation, but even more be worried that pastors and padres together with believers young and old, male and female, are joining the throng in churches to pray against the highhandedness of the regime.
The article on LC elections points out that, politicians claim to be champions of youth empowerment, but when the opportunity comes to harness youths to take up leadership positions, they sideline them. One may ask, is this the kind of leadership the country subscribes to?
We ought to go back to the basics and to the drawing line. As the Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency Michael August Blume reiterates the message of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, ‘Don’t lock the treasure of your faith in a safe,’ let us therefore work towards peace and reconciliation even amid the helm of uncertainties.
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