Uganda: MP Nambooze Under Fire Over Remarks On Bishop

15 October 2020

Mukono Diocesan leaders have asked Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze to apologise to the area bishop, James William Ssebaggala, for allegedly making inappropriate comments about him.

Recently, Ms Nambooze accused Bishop Ssebaggala of conniving with her opponent, Mukono Municipality Mayor George Fred Kagimu, to merge two church schools with the intention of selling Church land.

Mr Kagimu, a Democratic Party (DP) member, is seeking to unseat Ms Nambooze from Mukono Municipality Parliament seat.

Ms Nambooze won the National Unity Platform (NUP) party ticket to defend the seat she has occupied for two consecutive terms.

"How can Kagimu accept to be used by the bishop [Ssebaggala], who is left with two years to retire, to take over government schools which have been in existence for 100 years?" Ms Nambooze asked while addressing her supporters at the NUP offices in Mukono Town on September 17.

In 2016, the diocese merged Bishop Central and Bishop West primary schools into one boarding primary school with the aim of improving education standards.

Only Bishop East Primary School remained for day scholars.

However, the decision drew criticism from angry parents, pupils and a section of local leaders, who descended on the school and destroyed the perimeter fence and gate that had been erected, and hurled insults at the clergy, whom they accused of harbouring plans to sell off the school land.

The two schools, founded by the Anglican Church, were implementing the government's Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme.

However, the created Bishop West Boarding Primary school is a private institution. Ms Nambooze claimed that since the schools were merged, the diocese has failed to manage them well and teachers are not paid their monthly salaries on time.

"They [diocese] are always collecting offertory from church goers so that they can raise money to pay teachers yet the government could pay them in time," the legislator added.

She further said there is also no development at the merged schools, not even putting up new better lavatory facilities.

The Mukono Diocesan Provost, the Rev Con Enos Kiito Kagodo, said the allegations Nambooze made against the bishop are serious and asked her to apologise to him.

"The Church projects she talks about are not political and she should keep the bishop out of her political contestations," the Rev Kagodo said in a press conference at the weekend.

As she seeks a third term as the area MP, the Rev Kagodo advised Ms Nambooze to focus more on explaining what she has done for her electorate rather than discussing Church projects.

The diocesan secretary, Canon John Ssebudde, said Ms Nambooze's attacks on the bishop are uncalled for.

"Let our sister [Nambooze] come out and apologise to the bishop for casting him in bad light," Canon Ssebudde said.

Mr Ronald Musoke, the Mukono Diocesan legal officer, said if Ms Nambooze doesn't apologise to the bishop, they will seek legal redress.

When contacted for a comment on the allegations on Wednesday, Ms Nambooze, said she is ready to apologise to the bishop if the diocese formally complains to her.

"As a legislator, I was amplifying my electorates' voice, but if the bishop felt offended, I am sorry. I will apologise to him if the diocese formally complains to me. I am just hearing about their complaints through the media," she said.

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