President Yoweri Museveni has strongly warned politicians who are seeking electoral positions against using sectarian language as they solicit for political support noting that they risk being disqualified and losing their positions on top of serving prison sentences.
The President, therefore, instructed the police to arrest anybody found promoting sectarianism based on tribal, religious or otherwise and cause the promoter to be prosecuted in accordance with the existing electoral laws.
The President made the remarks yesterday afternoon during a fundraising function for St. Francis of Asisi Catholic Church Burora and St. Jude Secondary School Burora which are in Burora Sub-County, Buyaga West County in Kibaale district.
Mr. Museveni said he had learnt that some politicians in Kibaale district in Bunyoro Sub-Region had embarked on sectarian politicking to divide wananchi in that area which hosts Ugandans of diverse tribes, religions, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, with the purposely to gain political support.
The President, therefore, advised wananchi to shun such politicians noting that they are not worth being leaders.
Quoting the Biblical narration of a good Samaritan, the President asked the people of Kibaale district to learn from Jesus’ teaching which emphasized the fact that what was important was one’s action not where one comes from.
“Let leaders tell you what they want to do for you and their usefulness and leave your tribes because all tribes and people were created by God and none of us created any person. Not even the children that I have and all of you. We are not our own creation. We are all gifts from God; so don’t divide God’s people,” he said.
“I am not campaigning but when time comes, I will come here and tell you that NRM defeated rebels and brought peace to this region and I will ask you to vote NRM on those grounds not on tribal or religious basis because sectarian politics is evil. Uganda is peaceful, united and developing and nobody should divide Ugandans and spoil all the gains the country has realized,” he added.
In February 2015, NRM banned all its members from canvassing for votes or using social media to raise political support before the ruling party’s electoral commission officially opens the campaigns.
Any defiance would attract disciplinary action and the offenders risk disqualification from contesting in the forthcoming party primaries.
Yet, Deputy Attorney General, Fred Ruhindi, said political operatives can print posters with all sorts of campaign messages including “sole candidate” as long as they don’t put the word “vote”.
The NRM Secretary General, Ms Justine Kasule Lumumba, said she would send a circular to all NRM branches and aspirants warning them not to campaign before time for primaries.
Only this week, a message was sent on people’s phones saying: “Owing to NRM achievements especially bringing peace, the historical league & party structures seconded me to pick nomination forms for NRM chairman & Presidential flag bearer 2016, with a mission of leading Uganda to a middle income country by 2019. My fellow Ugandans, join me on this great and rewarding journey. Thank you for the support and trust. Yoweri K. Museveni.”
While the president denies engaging in early campaigns, it is known that he has been traversing the country chronicling NRM achievements.
Posters of the president have been seen on most of his rallies (as if evident in these above pictures of the same rally), the latest being the West Nile rallies where he was preaching wealth creation.
However, critics agree that at the moment it is hard to the limits of the president’s work as compared to campaigning.
Youth have been arrested in various towns of Uganda for wearing or possessing Amama Mbabazi’s posters, T-shirts and other campaign materials.
Peaches against sectarianism
President Museveni advised the population in Kibaale district to treat as satanic any person who is promoting sectarianism adding that such people should be shunned on top of recording their actions.
He added that such persons should be handed to Police to ensure that they are prosecuted.
He used the occasion to assure the people that are living in the resettlement areas of Kagadi, Lutete and Kisita that government will process and give them land titles for the land they were allocated so that anyone who threatens them with eviction would indeed be wasting their time.
“No one will evict you and government will issue you with land titles,” he assured them.
The President pledged to extend electricity to most parts of Buyaga West constituency adding that government has secured funds to tarmac most of the prime roads in Bunyoro Sub-Region which comprises the districts of Buliisa, Hoima, Kibaale, Kiryandongo and Masindi.
Mr. Museveni commended the Catholic Church for founding St. Jude Secondary School in Burora, the only secondary school Burora Sub-County.
He, therefore, instructed the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Sports to take up the institution so that it becomes a government aided school immediately.
He contributed Shs.60 million to the church fundraising drive and bought Pope Francis’ portrait at Shs.10 million
Turning further to social issues, the President strongly cautioned wananchi against land fragmentation based on poor inheritance rights.
He also advised people to cherish life and guard it jealously against preventable diseases because, he said, life is the greatest gift man received from God the creator.
Regarding the banishment of household poverty, Mr. Museveni appealed to the people to engage in modern commercial agriculture noting that mere development infrastructure without production at household level may not help transform people in the struggle to rid themselves of poverty.
Burora Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Charles Ssekiwere Araali, reported that Burora Catholic Church was founded to extend services closer to the people of the area.
He said that currently, the Parish serves 1,400 people.
He assured the President that Burora Catholic Church supports and promotes government programmes such as Universal Primary and Secondary Education (UPE and USE), Wealth Creation Campaign and the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic.