Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A row has erupted between Christians of Lango Diocese, opposition political parties and the Lango Bishop Rt. Rev. Alfred Olwa following his move to mobilize support for President Yoweri Museveni.
Speaking at a thanksgiving prayer held in the home of Rebecca Otengo, Uganda’s Ambassador to Ethiopia in Wicere village, Apala sub county in Alebtong district recently, Bishop Olwa told Christians to appreciate President Museveni with votes for appointing key people of Lango into positions of responsibility.
Bishop Olwa said that voting for Museveni will open doorways for development in Lango.
“On the 14th of January 2021, go and massively vote Museveni, he gave us an ambassador, voting Museveni will open doors for development in Lango, voting him is a reward for a job well done, some NRM here are putting on yellow but they are not asking for votes for the president, please vote him,” he told the congregation.
But the Bishop’s move has generated mixed reactions in Lango sub-region and prompted opposition politicians in the area to call for his resignation. Moses Mawa, the chairperson National Unity Platform-NUP in Lira district and Lira city says that Bishop Olwa should resign from the work of God and join politics if he is interested in it.
Mawa observes that the bishop or a servant of God is somebody that people with problems including politicians irrespective of their political affiliation run to for guidance. On the basis of this, he ought to be impartial and a symbol of unity for the flock.
“Let him remove the collar and openly join partisan politics, men of God like him should stand independent to guide us, as of now let him tell some of us who do not support Museveni where we should run, with his bias mind, he must resign,” he said in an interview.
Bonny Otyama Ogongson, the chairman of the Forum for Democratic change-FDC party in Lira district wondered how the man of God will be in a position to rebuke the NRM government or state forces when they violate peoples rights.
Former MP Isha Otto Amiza, a member of the UPC faction headed by Peter Walubiri observes that the bishop has a right like any other Ugandan to say whatever he likes on the election as long as he is able to make clear that it is his own opinion. He adds that otherwise, the position can cause division among Christians.
However, the NRM publicity secretary for Lira district Jacob Ocen said the statement made by Bishop Alfred Olwa shows that the spiritual leader is showing people the right political direction as an appreciation for the contributions of the NRM government.
“It is wise to vote for a candidate likely to win like president Museveni, as a man of God, Bishop Olwa was showing his Christians the light and the way to development to secure their future just like Bishop Tembo of West Ankole diocese, who openly joined NRM party and registered as the party member with his entire family members,” he said in a telephone interview.
Joshua Kitakule, the Secretary-General of the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda says religious leaders who campaign for particular candidates are defying their code of conduct. He however says they don’t have the powers to penalize anyone who does so.