Uganda: Fr Gaetano Tasks Clergy On Political Campaigns

Bobi Wine in a police van after his arrest in Luuka District on November 18, 2020.
19 November 2020

Kabale Diocese Catholic priest Fr Gaetano Batanyenda has urged fellow religious leaders to participate in political campaigns to guide Ugandans in choosing better political leaders ahead of the 2021 General Election.

"Don't bow to intimidation. We don't draw our calling from politicians, it's a God's calling and what is our mandate? We are shepherds of God's flock. According to the teachings of the Bible and Jesus, a good shepherd should take care of the flock when wolves and lions come, he stays put and fights but not to run away," Fr Batanyenda said on Tuesday at a press conference in Mbarara City.

He added: "What hurts me is what some of the Ugandan shepherds (religious leaders) are doing; when they see the wolves and lions eating the flock, they run away as the flock is being eaten."

Fr Batanyenda described the wolves and lions as the corrupt and selfish politicians.

"Some of us have bowed to their pressure and threats because at times we are beneficiaries of their loot. It is easy for religious leaders to stand at the pulpit and condemn the prostitutes, thieves and drunkards in front of super thieves (politicians), who have swindled millions of money. They give them front seats, massage and glorify them because at the end of the day, you will share part of the loot," he said.

Appeal

Fr Batanyenda advised religious leaders not to be partakers of riches the corrupt politicians have amassed but stick to the truth and God's calling. He warned that they stand to pay a heavy price for enjoying with bad leaders for that is not what they were sent and ordained to do by God.

"My colleagues, religious leaders go out openly and guide Ugandans on what to do for a better future; the country needs better and new leaders for a better future," Fr Batanyenda said. He also blamed heads of religious institutions for not supporting their colleagues who have come out to guide the flock on ensuring good leadership.

"I have heard government officials coming out to condemn religious leaders who speak the truth such as Rev Fr Richard Mugisha of Masaka Diocese, [but] no religious leaders have come out to support him over what he said. We have all kept quiet, this shows the level of hypocrisy we have reached," Fr Batanyenda said.

Fr Mugisha, a Catholic priest at Bisanje Parish in Masaka Diocese, on November 12 used the pulpit to ask Ugandans to vote for change in the coming general elections.

Fr Batanyenda said he strongly supports his colleague, noting that Uganda's better future cannot be guaranteed under the current leadership.

Recent case

Fr Richard Mugisha, a Catholic priest at Bisanje Parish in Masaka Diocese, last week asked Ugandans to vote for change in the coming General Election. In the video clip, which went viral on various social media platforms, the priest condemned top government officials for not prioritising issues affecting Ugandans.

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