Defiant Doves: A Call For Self-examination To The Clergy

Uganda will go to presidential and parliamentary elections next week Thursday after witnessing episodes of deadly clashes between the opposition and security forces. The clashes have resulted into death of more than 100 people with several hundreds detained.

Calls for a peaceful election continue to be made by many influencers and organisations including religious leaders under the Uganda Joint Christian Council who Tuesday converged at the Munyonyo Martyrs shrine led by Archbishop, Cyprian Kizito Lwanga to pray for peace in this period.

However, after the prayers, the men of God released the symbolic doves in the sky to fly for peace during the elections, but in what many have described as a defiant move, the birds instead fell down and comfortably refused to move.

The Dove has seemingly inexhaustible sources of symbolic flavor throughout most histories, cultures and myth. When a Dove is released at a public function of leadership installation, or in anticipation of something, in this case, prayer for peace, it is a dice or barometer to determine short or long life and good or bad omens of that leader or a situation ahead.

Normally, the Dove must joyfully and willfully fly without any help.

If it flies higher, it means the installed leadership has long life and good omen or in this case, that peace will prevail. If it struggles and has to be forced to fly higher, It only foretells short life and bad omen for the installed leadership or anarchy ahead.

What happened when the leaders released the Doves in the air and they refused to fly was a bizarre and an eccentric situation that needs everyone to take keen interest in the understanding of this strange situation.

The strange incident only reveals that perhaps God is telling the clergy about the fact that he wants them to always speak on behalf of those in need – the oppressed, as opposed to remaining tight-lipped or speaking in anticipation of personal gains from the oppressors.

God says in Proverbs 31:8-9 that, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

The clergy in Uganda have either deliberately or ignorantly abdicated this call from God. They have turned into “drum boys” for the regime even in times when they shouldn’t. When working with one of top city Pastors in Uganda recently, he told me God has never asked the clergy to fight the existing regimes but instead, commanded that they work with them.

To the clergy in Uganda, working with the regime means supporting and amplifying all the works and policies fronted regardless of how oppressing they may be to common people. We have witnessed a series of human rights violation in Uganda, killing of people in Kasese and other parts of the country with impunity, inception oppressive and unfair laws like those on mobile money and social media, corruption etcetera. Ugandans have indeed always cried out for help to no rescue but the good men of God remained silent. We don’t see them put a strong stance in putting a stop to such actions.

It was until recently when the very clergy surfaced to call for postponement of next week’s elections for three years and further conditioning that no any other person should be President during that time apart from President Yoweri Museveni, something that is far from what the law provides.

God calls each of us to be good stewards of our gifts. As the clergy, they have the gift of influence. When they steward that gift well, political leaders can make decisions that fight the systemic causes of poverty, conflict, and injustice. One determined voice can help change lives around the country.

The refusal to fly by these birds shouldn’t be taken lightly by the religious leaders, the top leadership must take a step back, examine their actions with the aim of replenishing their souls.

Important to note.

A bigger percentage of people is just human with fresh and blood but a few of us are human with fresh, blood, and both physical and spiritual understanding of the nature of the World.

The fresh and blood man will see signs and crews of nature and God but will understand nothing about it. It’s normal and very absolute for the unwise to suffer because of their own foolishness.

Wise men will always act diligently and wisely and necessary actions will be appropriately taken. Perhaps through the defiant Doves, God is calling the clergymen to order.

The Writer is a Ugandan Journalist with passion for current African affairs.

Regulate Online Content Or Wait For The Worst

When the National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential flag bearer, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine was arrested on November 18 from Luuka district, in only hours later, several towns across the country were gripped in violent clashes between purported supporters of the then detained musician turned politician and security.

The news of Bobi Wine’s arrest spread widely via online platforms, caused the outrage that lasted two days and consequently led to loss more than 60 lives, injured dozens and left hundreds detained.

The deadly clashes witnessed, only point to a fact that social media and other online platforms if not well regulated especially during this election period, could inspire real life violence that may leave Uganda permanently fractured.

Many countrymen may interpret this as a call to infringe on the right to information, but far from it, this is a humble appeal for a preventative measure.

Let us put it into perspective. Today, more Ugandans have access to social media. This, effectively means that shared information is easily and widely accessed, thus effectively calling for a regulation that controls the content that is shared.

The regulatory measure should actually guard the country from a repeat of what happened in Myanmar a couple of years back when a Buddhist woman went to her local police station and reported that she had been raped by two Muslim colleagues. After which, a local monk shared details on facebook which sparked clashes between majority Buddhists and minority Muslims that left nearly 20 people dead. However, Courts later found out that the rape story was not true. The alleged victim told Court that she had been paid to file the false police report.

See, there are many Facebook accounts and YouTube channels currently in Uganda that have embarked on spreading hate, misinformation and fake news – you will recall how social media was recently awash with reports of how the Kabaka of Buganda had been poisoned and that he was dead.

Some of the Facebook accounts, many now, with a big following, make live broadcasts every day with a soul purpose of spreading propaganda, character assassinating individuals and lies. This is very dangerous. Their emotive and divisive content can escape violence. It clearly has a potential of triggering thousands to take part in violent street protests and riots.

It is actually worse with Youtube where operators of channel strive so much for following and views in order to be paid – I hear the bigger the following and traffic, the money. Many people now feed their audience with lies to attract viewership and get paid. This must change. I think content should be given priority if any payments are to be done.

If authorities do not rise to the occasion, Uganda is at the verge of falling victim of misinformation spread online just like the violence in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India, Mexico, United States and Germany.

The writer is a Ugandan journalist with passion for current African affairs.