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Cleric criticizes Museveni over cassava remarks

President Yoweri Museveni

Gulu, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Reverend Father Justine Eric Uma, the Parish Priest of Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Gulu city has criticized President Yoweri Museveni for asking Ugandans to eat cassava if they cannot afford bread.

During this year’s International Labour Day celebrations at Kololo ceremonial grounds, President Museveni lashed out at Ugandans for crying over the high commodity prices, saying that they have several local and cheaper choices to make.

Museveni noted that those who cannot afford bread should eat cassava. In his Sunday homily at Holy Rosary Church, Reverend Father Uma said that the President’s statement is not welcome noting that it is an indication of not being mindful of the suffering people amidst ululations, cheers, and handclaps from the congregation.

Rev. Fr. Uma warned leaders to refrain from such utterances, adding that such statements have led to uprisings and caused the overthrow of governments in the past. Reverend Father Uma was relating to the 1789 French Revolution, which was prompted by the high commodity prices and subsequent utterance by the Queen of France Marie Antoinette who said that the people should eat cake if they cannot afford bread.

“It made people angry, they started protests and ousted that government. Here, see the prices of fuel have gone high. Who owns the filling stations? They are the top government officials. Previously we had fuel reserves but now we don’t have them. This means that we don’t love Ugandans,” Uma noted.

He urged the government to focus on addressing the plight of the people and stop wasting public resources such as the money being used to throw lavish birthday parties for the President’s son General Kainerugaba Muhoozi.

Turning to the bid of Andrew Ojok to replace his father and former Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah as Omoro County MP, Reverend Father Uma said it sets precedence for a monocratic leadership in the country.

He also urged religious leaders to deviate from taking political sides but serve the suffering and needy people. In March, Reverend Uma warned that the church will mobilize the masses against the government if the high commodity prices are not addressed noting that it has caused hardships.  In Gulu city, comedians and actors have taken to acting to portray the dire situation relating to the high prices.

In one play “Keny Moo Dek’’ translated as “Cooking Oil Affairs’’, the actors Brian Lapir and Peter Akena alias Bouncer Word Paibona won the heart of one Sharia Ajok alias Oven with a quarter litre of cooking oil and a piece of laundry soap which Oveni said she could not afford yet they are basic necessities.

Prices of essential commodities like soap, cooking oil, salt, maize flour and sugar among others have been steadily increasing in the past two months.

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