Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Minister for Presidency Esther Mbayo has asked the Catholic Church and Buganda Kingdom to stick to their core roles instead of meddling in politics.
“Everybody should concentrate on what they are supposed to do. If you are the church concentrate on that, and if you are a politician, concentrate on that. If you want to join politics, put off the robes and come,” said Mbayo.
Mbayo made the remarks while addressing journalists on Friday about the 35th National Resistance Movement (NRM) and National Resistance Army (NRA) Victory Day celebration to take place at State House Entebbe on 26th January.
She said the Buganda kingdom officials had been urging voters to only pick leaders ‘who have Buganda’s interest at heart’.
Following the poor performance of the NRM in Kampala for Presidential and MP polls, President Museveni said in a televised national address that the voting had been sectarian.
“In some of the voting, the pattern which we saw, very interesting, you can see some of that. Instead of people looking to solve the social economic issues of the people, they now bring back sectarianism. Like you saw the voting, for instance, in Buganda,” President Museveni said in his national address.
Buganda dismisses allegations
The Katikkiro of Buganda Charles Peter Mayiga responded by dismissing the talk of sectarian voting in Buganda, saying that on the contrary, there is no other part of Uganda where people vote for those from other communities, like it happens in Buganda.
Mayiga advised the NRM to look at the failed service delivery in the city and land grabbing to understand why the region voted against them.
“I don’t think the blame game is useful…saying that people are sectarian for not voting NRM is totally wrong,” said the Katikkiro.
Mbayo says do not mix religion and politics
In her address Friday, Mbayo has called on Buganda and the Catholic church to stick in their lane (outside politics).
According to Mbayo, THE Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Kampala Cyprian Kizito Lwanga and the Catholic Church have come out openly to de-campaign the government and support the opposition.
Mbayo said that the Katikkiro of Buganda clearly told people to vote red, by telling them to harvest red coffee and not the yellow or green ones.
“In Buganda it was clear. Mengo and the Catholic Church were involved. They were telling people to vote for the red coffee that has matured. What does that mean? We are now going into the politics of tribalism, sectarianism, religion. The Catholic Church has come out to de-campaign the government. Cyprian Kizito and the Katikkiro of Buganda were open,” she charged.
She was responding to questions from journalists following a statement by National Resistance Movement Vice Chairperson for Eastern Uganda, Mike Mukula that Buganda voted in a sectarian manner. She says this is what NRM fought for and it is sad that this is happening in Buganda.
She says Mengo cannot unite people if it engages in politics and tribalism.
Mbayo says that churches are also failing to do their work and now involving in politics and directly campaigning for opposition.
” Long ago we used to have few churches but sinners were few, but these days we have many churches and sinners are many. Instead of bringing the lost sheep on board, they are concentrating on politics,” said Mbayo, meaning that some people are not doing their work.
She says since the church and the kingdom have come out openly, there is no need to hide.
Asked how they are going to handle this, she said that government through President Museveni has been meeting with Mengo and the Church leaders over time and this will be resolved.
The Buganda spokesperson Noah Kiyimba says that the Minister of Presidency is trying to shy away from the reality.
Kiyimba says that government was at the centre of being voted out in Kampala since it has failed on service delivery. He says if people don’t have drugs, you cannot blame Buganda kingdom.
Kiyimba also says that the killing of the 54 people in Kampala in November sent a big message to voters.
He says the tribal excuse will not work, but government should instead fight corruption, and deliver for Ugandans among others.