My name is Dr. Charles B. Niwagaba, a Senior Lecturer, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering-Makerere University.
At a recent pass out of 2,900 UPDF soldiers in Luweero, HE President Yoweri Museveni was quoted directing RDCs to arrest sectarian politicians.
In that pass out, HE the President was quoted saying “I do not want to hear anyone using tribe and religion or any sectarian grounds to campaign. It is a big crime. I think RDCs are sleeping. We need to fire these RDCs who are not doing their job.”
Upon reading the article, two things immediately came to my mind.
The first was just after the 1980 elections, when I was only six years old.
I witnessed, in Rukiga County, Uganda People’s Congress supporters who had ‘won’ the elections, torching the houses of Democratic Party supporters who had ‘lost’ the election.
However, the immediate identification they used at that time to tell whether one was UPC or DP was from the church where the respective persons prayed.
Every person belonging to the Catholic Church was deemed to be DP and that from the Church of Uganda was deemed to be a member of the UPC party.
This identification was so distinct that even at parties; you would have to invite people belonging to your political party and therefore religion.
Amongst some die hard families, this even extended to marriages so that a catholic (and therefore DP) would not marry a Protestant (and therefore UPC) and vice versa.
If you go to Rukiga now, these things do not exist at all, thanks to the leadership of HE President Yoweri Museveni, which united people along religious lines.
The second thing that the article reminded me is about a certain Catholic Father, who teaches at St. Pauls Seminary in Kabale, who has tried to undo exactly what the NRM Government of President Museveni has been doing over the last 29 years.
The Man of God has been moving around, Kabale, especially in the constituencies of Rubanda East and West, promoting certain politicians contesting for the various elective seats in Kabale district, claiming that those politicians are endorsed by the Catholic Church as flag bearer.
Yet, if you speak to the leadership of the Catholic Church in Kabale, there exists no such a thing as the flag bearer of the Catholic Church because it will divide people along religious lines again, just like in the 1980’s.
Therefore, if the RDC of Kabale can swing into action to implement the directive of HE the President, then it is likely that a few politicians and a Catholic Priest, as well as their Campaign agents might end up in trouble.
Bravo HE the President for coming out strongly on this matter of sectarian politics of religion and tribes.
I am confident that yourself and your representatives in the various parts of the country can follow up these issues and stop them completely because people are now in harmony.
In most parts of Uganda now, you cannot use religion to tell which party a person belongs to or vice versa.
It has brought harmony, and right now, not many parents bother in which religion their son/daughter gets married.
This kind of harmony has the capacity to remove voting blocks along religion lines and people will rely on the potential capability of a contestant without minding which religion they come from.
Therefore, let us support HE the President and his government to expose the practices that can resurrect sectarian politics of religion and tribes.