Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The government should give an account of every person who has remained incommunicado as a Christmas present to their families, Catholic Bishops have requested.
This was part of the Christmas message delivered by Rt. Rev. Joseph Antony Zziwa, the chairman of the Uganda Episcopal Conference on behalf of the Catholic bishops. The Bishops noted that they have heard screams of families, whose people have gone missing at the hands of security personnel.
Zziwa, who is also the ordinary of the Kiyinda-Mityana diocese explained that as Bishops they are concerned that two years or more down the road, very few of the missing persons have been accounted for or arraigned before the court despite persistent appeals by their families and other stakeholders.
The said persons started going missing during the 2020 presidential campaign and many people assumed they disappeared for political reasons. The whereabouts of some of those arrested have remained unknown. Dozens of others have since appeared in court while others have been released unconditionally.
Recently, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja started talks with the Opposition led by Mathias Mpuuga to discuss the status of the missing persons. However, the talks seem to have failed to yield results given the fact that the opposition has since filed a habeas corpus (court order) to produce two of the missing persons either dead or alive.
The Bishop’s call is in line with a similar message recently passed out by Pope Francis calling different heads of state across the world to make a “gesture of clemency” to the “brothers and sisters deprived of their liberty and who are held eligible to benefit from such a provision.” According to the short communiqué from the Holy See, the appeal was made so that this time marked by tensions, injustice, and conflicts may be opened to the grace that comes from the Lord.
Away from the missing person, the bishops have also shown concern over the social and economic hardships in different communities including people who might not get what to eat during this festival season. Bishop Zziwa noted that the situation demands those who have to extend a hand to the less fortunate by performing simple, and random acts of kindness.
The Bishops also warned the faithful and general public to abstain from dangerous behaviors such as excessive alcohol consumption, violence, and speeding during the festival season.