Pope Francis has at last arrived in Uganda after long months of waiting.
The Pope arrived at Entebbe international airport Friday evening aboard Shepherd One.
He was received by President Yoweri Museveni, First Lady, Janet Museveni, government officials, religious leaders and foreign dignitaries.
After alighting from the plane, the Pope was given a banquet of flowers by Anne Jasmine Bamwine, 6, a pupil of Daffodils Kindergarten Bukoto.
Notable among officials was the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, Prime Minister, Ruhakana Rugunda, Minister Tarsis Kabwegyere, security minister Karoro Okurut to mention but a few.
The Pope was then given a 21 gun-salute by the national army, UPDF.
Clad in cream-white robes, the Pope waved at believers and exchanged pleasantries with local bishops before heading to the VVIP lounge where he signed the visitors’ book.
The popemobile was waiting outside to ferry him to State House Entebbe to pay a curtsey visit to President Museveni.
Pope Francis becomes the third pope to visit Uganda after Pope Paul VI [August 1969] and Pope John Paul II [ February 1993].
While still at the airport, the Pope was photographed giving President Museveni a thumbs up.
“Thumbs up” is the ruling party and its chairman, Museveni’s trade mark.
While we don’t want to interpret this as an indication that he was “endorsing” the NRM candidate for 2016 elections, what happened next was worth noting.
While in the VVIP lounge, a group of people waiting at the entrance suddenly broke into a chant “Our man, no change” while they played drums and ululated.
“Our man, no change” are the same slogans used to show support for president Museveni.
Meanwhile, in the same photo where the Pope seems to be giving Museveni a nod/approval, a Ugandan dressed smartly in a suit is seen flashing a “Go Forward” sign.
Go Forward is a pressure group started by Amama Mbabazi, the former Prime Minister now running against Museveni in 2016 general elections.
Another picture [we hope not photoshopped] shows the Pope flashing a sign used by FDC candidate, Kizza Besigye.