The Outspoken Preist of Kitanga Parish in Kabale Diocese Rev. Fr. Gaetano Batanyenda has equated President Yoweri Museveni to the Ancient Babylonian King Hammurabi whose code of laws encouraged revenge instead of forgiveness that was preached by Jesus Christ.
Fr. Gaetano’s statements are in reference to the recent speech at the memorial lecture of the late Chief Justice Benedicto Kiwanuka in which Museveni reavealed intention to fight against court bail granted to suspected capital offenders.
The president also used Kiwanuka Memorial Lecture to demand that convicted murderers should be convicted to death by hanging, not life imprisonment.
“The other problem I am beginning to see, is the issue of life imprisonment when someone has killed a person. The one you killed is not on life imprisonment. He or she is dead. So for us, it’s an eye for an eye. It must be life for a life. This is the way people understand justice in the villages,” Museveni said.
While adressing journalists in his weekly press conference in Kabale Town, Fr. Gaetano said that Museveni was an exact replica of Hammurabi, the sixth King of the First Babylonian dynasty whose reign lasted for 42 years from 1792 to 1750 BC .
Hammurabi’s lasting contribution to the western society was his set of laws written on twelve stones and displayed publicly for all to see, the most common being ” Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.” The laws are generally known as the Code of Hammurabi.
However, Fr. Gaetano said that Museveni’s expression of support to the Code of Hammurabi was against the Biblical scripture in Mathew 5:38-45 in which Jesus Christ discouraged revenge and instead encouraged peace and forgiveness for offenders, including capital offenders.
The priest was a member of the Constituent Assembly -C.A, that drafted the 1995 constituion of Uganda whose article 28 (3.a) states that every person who is charged with criminal offense shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty or until that person has pleaded guilty.
The constitution is subject to amendment, however Fr. Gaetano says that all the previous amendments done under Museveni’s government do not reflect the people’s will but rather the use of money and the guns to meet president Museveni’s interests.
The National Unity Platform President Robert Kyagulanyi has since vowed to rally the opposition against the planned amendment of the constitution. Fr. Gaetano said there was little or no chance that Kyagulanyi and the opposition could stop Museveni’s planned move given the numerical strength of the NRM in parliament.
However, Gaetano said they should not stop opposing the idea so that history can exonorate them for standing with Ugandans during the time of “oppression”.
On Tuesday, Museveni convened a caucus meeting to rally the NRM MPs and NRM leaning independents against the right of capital offenders to apply for court bail, and according to the Government Chief Whip, Thomas Tayebwa, the meeting resolved that consultation for two weeks should be made about the matter.
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