By Mike Ssegawa
The recent past has seen worsening relations between the government of Uganda and religious leaders. The focus of religious leaders has been on the president of Uganda, Mr Yoweri Museveni, whose overstay in power is perceived by many, as a stumbling block to peace and prosperity of this country.
Many people agree that Mr Museveni is not willing to go voluntarily even when he argues that it is the people of Uganda who keep voting him into power. He says, that is democracy, Ugandans for long have craved for.
Under Mr Museveni’s regime, now, clocking 33 years, many people are very cynical of politics and for the sake of peace, have given up on their president, waiting for the day God will call, like everyone else has to die. Then, another leader will emerge.
However, the biggest concern is that as Museveni refuses to leave the stage, governance issues beg several questions. Corruption is at its highest. Insecurity rising. Unemployment. High taxation with very little benefits to the tax payers such as poor health care services in hospitals as well as a failing education system. Etc.
It is in this light that religious leaders have been calling on the president and his ruling party to realize the signs of the time.
Several bishops have spoken out, calling the space by its name. However Mr Museveni has not taken the straight in good faith. He believes the religious leaders are over reaching their mandate. He actually called it kamanyiro (familiarity).
With this background, the state has intensified its surveillance of those people it regards as threats.
By the time the Archbishop of Kampala went on the pulpit to talk about sour relations with a head of state, it means there was a serious break down of relations between the two leaders.
It therefore comes with freshness that Mr Museveni on Easter Monday picked his phone to call Dr Cyprian Kizito Lwanga to talk about areas of contention.
In times of doubt, where many people are voiceless, the religious leaders have that prophetic role to speak to power. That courage is expected of them, and silence is seen as betrayal of their folk who they know is weak and need protection from exposure to wolves.
Whatever Museveni and Lwanga spoke, I believe is vital for moving the country forward. And by speaking, the ideas raised should be acted on.
Uganda needs hope. There is so much negativity around. This country needs to hear and see some positive development coming on the streets of townships and into villages across.
Children need to be born in good health centres, attend credible schools, have a right to feed at school and home, sleep under decent shelters and when they finish school get decent jobs. That is the minimum this population needs. However, this is the dream for many households across the country.
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