Socrates once noted that, “unexamined life is not worth living”. I find this quote very timely at a moment like this when we are in a depression due to COVID-19. We are therefore in a period of uncertainty where we need care, guidance and affirmation from our political leaders and all Ugandan elites. Due to the logistics involved in the state of affairs, we ask; whose responsibility is it to provide care to the needy millions amidst this crisis? How will Uganda cope with this crisis amidst greed and individualism? If there are resources, will there be fair and equal distribution?
I have taken time to meditate on the words of Martin Luther king (Junior) who said, “Cowardice asks the question, is it politics? Vanity asks, is it popular? But conscious asks, is it right? And there comes a time when one must take position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscious tells one that it is right.”
Prophet Isaiah appeals to each one of us that, “come let us walk in the light of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:5). Are we eager to walk in the light of the Lord in terms of transparency and accountability? We are all aware that politicians in our country ought to be guided by the constitution. Even Jesus’ mission was within the framework of the law, (Matthew 5:17-20). Yet, there are situations when a moral decision is subjective. This may happen when someone says, “it feels good for me, and therefore I will do it.” This is where the law comes in to guide and to show us the right direction.
Do we see this trend in some of the political leaders of our time? We may be deceived that some of the political leaders are our saviors, yet their rule is deceptive, contradicting the third stanza of our national anthem where we sing, “For our own dear land, we’ll always stand, the pearl of Africa’s crown” (1Corinthians 1:10; Revelations 21:21). The anonymous says, “leaders need to be managed by people because sometimes they over or under manage themselves.” How then should we do this? We could cite the power of the ballot paper as a solution. But, is the ballot paper the concern of an ordinary man in the village? Do they know the value of political leadership? Is political leadership useful for their local communities?
We need to remember that there is no difference between treacherous politicians who prosper at the expense of fellow citizens and drunkards staggering on the road in broad daylight (Romans 13:13). They all need our prayers to give up their bad habits. It is important to recall that the shame Judas got after betraying our Lord, made him commit suicide (Matthew 27: 3-5; proverbs 21:6). Some of the treacherous politicians have already committed spiritual suicide.
Pascal Blaise says, “truth in this time is so obscured and lies are so wide spread that one cannot recognize the truth unless one loves it.” This is true indeed of the Ugandan situation today. Some Ugandans seem not to love the truth.
St. Paul did not hasten to instruct Timothy his successor that, “the people who want to get rich quickly follow into the temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction,” (1Timothy 6:9). Is this what has befallen some of our politicians and voters? Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free,” (John 8:32). We liberate ourselves when we say the truth, when we choose the truth and choose the right leaders.
As Ugandans, today more than ever, God asks us to be “Guardians” of our brothers and sisters (Genesis 4:9). George Eliot says, “it is never too late to be what you might have been.” We can still change our attitude towards our nation building. And to the political leaders of our time, what inheritance will you leave our country Uganda (Proverbs 13:22)?
Fr. Mathias Kwehangana
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