Kampala, Uganda |KAARO Karungi | Some Catholic priests have come out to openly express support for National Unity Platform-NUP president Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu.
On Friday, Kyagulanyi marked his 39th birthday and decided to celebrate it by holding prayers at his home in Magere, Wakiso district as a way to remember colleagues who were arrested and others killed as he campaigned for president in last month’s election.
Father Jude Makanga, the Parish priest for Gayaza who led a group of about 10 other priests to celebrate mass at Kyagualnyi’s home, said the only reason they support Kyagulanyi is that he stands on principles that the church stands for. Makanga said that it would be wrong for state officials to attack them for their coming out to speak about issues affecting the people because it’s their canonical duty to do so.
Makanga said even if they didn’t share the same aspirations as those that Kyagulanyi espouses, they would still speak out about the challenges that he’s going through because he’s part of the Catholic Church. He called upon the government to stop the abduction of people for expressing their support for Kyagulanyi and the opposition at large.
Another renowned priest, Father Anthony Musaala called upon Kyagulanyi supporters to stay focused because victory was in sight. Musaala who referred to President Museveni as a dictator said history has had very many examples of very powerful people but were brought down by people whom they had underestimated.
Father Martin Oyo, the Parish Priest of Kamwokya referred to Kyagulanyi as the president-elect of Uganda. Oyo gave presents to Kyagulanyi including money to help him coordinate his activities as the president-elect.
For his part, Kyagulanyi thanked the Catholic Church for not shying away from openly supporting him. He said the biggest problem that Uganda has had is religious leaders who have platforms to speak out against the ills affecting the country but instead are cowed or given money to keep quiet.
Kyagulanyi also castigated religious leaders who are always calling for peace amidst injustices committed against what he called peaceful people. He said there can never be peace when there is no justice in the country.
In the aftermath of the January presidential election, President Museveni who was declared the winner attributed his major loss in Buganda, the first time in 25 years, to the negative campaign by the Catholic Church and the Buganda Kingdom. He said that priests openly de-campaigned him and his NRM party in the region.
Several videos made rounds on social media with priests especially in Buganda calling upon people to ditch the NRM and instead vote for Kyagulanyi. They said that everybody must be involved in bringing about positive change in Uganda.