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Uganda needs truth and truce in 2021—the clergy should lead us

(Last Updated On: 30 December 2022)

“The assassination of Zebra Mando Ssenyange, a former Bombers captain by security people as declared by the president in his end-of-year/new year nation address on Thursday 31, December 2020 tells us how badly we (Uganda) need a truce,” says Milton Emmy Akwam.

Oyam—1, January 2021: Welcome to the year 2021 fellow Ugandans here at home and abroad. 2020 was a year of tribulation and quarantine.

Precisely, for Uganda, almost everything became worse from March when our first case of Covid-19 was confirmed. This went up to December.

There were a series of lockdowns and restrictions. In our homes, we were told not to even drink beer, and not to get so close to our dear ones. These were preventative measures for Covid-19.

That year, besides the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot happened and I want to focus my opinion on politics.  Constitutionally, the Pearl of Africa, is a democratic country, although this has been dissented in recent years by many Ugandans.

This country, every after five years, elects its leaders—from the President to sub-county leaders. This is democracy! However, it’s also true that while I and some think this is a democracy, it’s also important to accommodate dissenting views from some—or many of our countrymen and women who believe Uganda has had no democratic elections (practices) from the 80s to 2016!

Our Constitution was promulgated on 8, October 1995, and has been amended many times.

By taking our time to hear dissenting views, we are practising and promoting democracy and redoing bad democratic practices.

Yet again, Uganda’s democracy will be tried again on 14, January 2021 when every eligible voter will cast his or her vote to elect the President and Members of Parliament for the next five years.

It’s significant to note that, from the year 2020 and preceding years, so many inapt actions were taken by the government’s security agencies who manhandled some politicians and their supporters.

From 2019 to 2020, we witnessed several arrests of key opposition leaders and their supporters, and badly, journalists were injured, arrested and denied the right to do their journalism.

There is no country on the African continent where dissenting views are tolerated; those who criticise the government are always watched, and their moves are restricted to prevent chaos. Some are killed!

Amidst various reports of human rights violations towards the forthcoming general elections, the allegation of torture and blocking of opposition rallies last year, and more of the same expected in 2021, and the ruling party and its supporters enjoying the day, democracy was hurt, and our democracy suffered.

In trying to modify our democracy, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) spoke and condemned the brutal act, the government also spoke and defended itself, Parliament was busy, international bodies (foreign delegations) condemned it; our religious leaders had their say, and their umbrella body—Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC), among all things, wanted elections cancelled. Opposition leaders and their supporters emotionally and tearfully talked, and the qualified Ugandans as per the electoral commission (EC) register will decide on January 14.

I’m worried. Why didn’t we have peace talks and a truce in 2020? In some countries where things are bad or expected, religious leaders start peace talks between the government and the opposition. In Uganda, our clergy have done very little in coordinating and unifying both the government and opposition during tough times.

With a lot of love for God and His Ordained Clerics (Our Holy Fathers), I want to blame the latter. The Church or those who oversee it on behalf of God on earth should be supreme, and available to serve not only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays but also during tough times—like yesterday and today.

President Museveni with IRC membership. Courtesy photo.
President Museveni with IRC members last year, Courtesy/File photo.

This year, I have noticed one thing. God loves his people, and he will continue to love us during painful and cheerful moments.

I want to appeal to the President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. My appeal is to see him direct our security officers to always arrest the wrong people (alleged criminals) rightfully but not kill them instantly.

In circumstances where the alleged criminal is armed and he is threatening to shoot during a lawful arrest, maybe an altercation is inevitable.

The assassination of Zebra Mando Ssenyange, a former Bombers captain by security people as declared by the president in his end-of-year/new year national address on Thursday 31, December 2020 tells us how badly we (Uganda) need a truce.

The declaration and shock remorse by the President tells us why telling the truth—this year and going forward is highly needed.

As I conclude, there is a need for all of us to be truthful from now irrespective of our political and religious affiliations; to always be remorseful irrespective of who is hurt or killed, and irrespective of who is suffering. We are all Ugandans.

To our religious leaders (Fathers), this is the time to call everyone for a truce; a time to replicate what Jesus Christ did before he died.

Mr  Akwam is the Executive Director of GLCSMS who also works for TND News.

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