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Museveni, Archbishop Lwanga agree trade-off

Two weeks after Kampala Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga spoke angrily about the state spying on him, President Museveni fixed a meeting for the two to meet at State Lodge Nakasero on April 8.

To Nakasero, Lwanga went with a group of priests but Museveni later scaled down the meeting to just the two of them, and it is during this one-on-one meeting in the gardens of the State Lodge that they agreed on a follow-on visit to Rwakitura, Museveni’s country home in Kiruhura district – where a common position seems to have been shaped.

President Museveni with Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga in Rwakitura

It was during the Rwakitura meeting last weekend that a seemingly softened Lwanga took the significant step of inviting Museveni to be Uganda’s chief pilgrim to the Vatican when Pope John Paul II will be canonised in October. 

He invited the president to use the church and other religious institutions in his poverty alleviation fight, channelling money from the national budget for this purpose.

The president was also asked to sponsor joint trips for heads of the different religious faiths in Uganda to their respective spiritual homes: Saudi Arabia where Islam’s holy sites are found; the seat of the Anglican Communion in Canterbury, England; the Catholic’s Vatican city and to Egypt where some orthodox Christians pay homage.

A source close to the archbishop has intimated to The Observer that Museveni asked Lwanga to Rwakitura after the prelate told him his criticism of government policies does not mean the archbishop is undermining the government. Lwanga reportedly told the president about his frustration at the rampant corruption in government.

Corruption, Lwanga reportedly told Museveni, is the reason why money injected into anti-corruption campaigns had failed to create an impact in the communities. He proposed that Museveni should change strategy and channel such funds through religious institutions.

Museveni then invited Lwanga to Rwakitura to see how people have transitioned from poverty to wealth. Lwanga accepted the invitation but asked the president to allow him come along with some other people who included the principals of the Inter –Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU) and key figures from Kampala Catholic archdiocese. 

Apart from Metropolitan Yonah Lwanga of the Orthodox church, the rest of the IRCU principals joined the entourage to Rwakitura which also included deputy Bank of Uganda governor Louis Kasekende, Centenary bank MD Fabian Kasi, former Makerere University vice chancellor Prof John Ddumba-Ssentamu, former East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Speaker Margaret Nantongo Zziwa and her husband Francis Babu.

They reached Rwakitura on Friday, April 13. They were driven to Ibanda district where they toured farms belonging to tycoon Patrick Bitature and state minister for Karamoja affairs John Byabagambi, before retiring to Bitature’s palatial home where they spent the night.

The following day, they were taken to visit one Kamugisha’s farm which is stocked with boran cattle before heading back to Museveni’s residence. They got to Rwakitura at about 4pm – two hours late for Museveni’s appointment.

“I’m sorry I can’t meet you, you are late. I expected you at 2pm; I have other engagements in Entebbe, you can eat and go back, I will meet you on May 4 in Kampala,” the president said.

As the group settled down to enjoy lunch under the tents, Museveni suddenly returned and made a short speech.

He said  he wanted the religious leaders to support his fight against poverty, a campaign he has been on since 1986.

“Working with you, we shall transform the countryside and improve our people’s income even as we continue to deal with those in urban centres who have no jobs and no land,” Museveni said.

He then extended a second invitation to the group to return to Rwakitura and tour the communities around his country home and see how he has transformed them from nomadism to dairy farming.

“What we did here was to teach people to keep a few cattle that have high milk yields instead of keeping a herd of the indigenous Ankole cows that had low milk yields,” Museveni said.

And when it was time for Lwanga to speak, it was clear that his frosty relationship with Museveni had improved significantly, and it was now time to beg from Museveni. 

President Museveni addressing religious leaders in Rwakitura

Lwanga first asked Museveni for a special budget allocation off the national budget for religious institutions for social development. Religious institutions, Lwanga said, have a direct connection with the people and are, therefore, better placed to lead the fight against poverty.

Lwanga also told Museveni that the various religious groups were not at war with one another but desirous to further cement their togetherness. It was at this point that he asked the president to sponsor the heads of the various religious groups to take trips to the Vatican, Canterbury, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

“I also ask you to be the chief pilgrim from Uganda to the Vatican for the canonisation of Pope John Paul II due in October. It will be good if you sponsor the religious leaders to take that trip,” Lwanga said.

sadabkk@observer.ug

Comments

+4 #21 Mark 2018-04-20 08:12
The Villages in Rwakitura have been transformed corruption money.

Each household in that community has son/daughter in high corruption office especially the Army where they bath in classified expenditure.
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+1 #22 amen 2018-04-20 08:31
Remase,
You raise substantial issues, however reflect back to what the archbishop said about the anonymous caller.

About him the bishop,Joining the late Luwum!!!!!.

Even him the Bishop, I'm sure, as was said somewhere in the writings in the Bible in Matthew, 26:41, Jesus said 'the spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak'
so blame not the bishop, for even you the young one displays worse fears than the archbishop.
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+2 #23 gwok 2018-04-20 09:18
Quoting juwait kali:
...... And museveni is telling you all other tribes that development is going on where it matters in this case western. ....
.

sure, he wants that on national records. To the westerners I say to you as a northerner who has been through it before you: the costs for you could come at the end of the regime, although in our case Akokoro village did not eat Obote's cake.

[I say this provisionarily & holding the assumption that our shared-history will repeat itself, other things remaining the same]
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+1 #24 juwait kali 2018-04-20 15:39
As night comes day its heading in that direction.

Let's hope the ladies and gentlemen who ate the okugikwatako cash will be brought to book and explain where they thought that cash came from.
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+1 #25 Remase 2018-04-20 15:52
amen, I hear you loud and clear, however, our fear of what M7 would and/or could do to us because we are tired of him is understandable.

In fact what makes news is the threat that Bishop Lwanga could be killed, like Amin did to Bishop Luwum. M7 has not denied that the Bishop was threatened.

That confirms that indeed that threat came from M7. Further more, M7 should have clearly come out and say that whoever made that threat should be arrested and prosecuted.

M7 knows that person. However, M7 called the Bishop and gave him money! amen, how will that solve the root cause?

Yes, there is a need to fight poverty, but what good is it to ignore the root cause. Yes M7 could kill the Bishop, just like Amin killed Luwum.

I don't want that to happen, however, blood and lives were lost to bring M7 to power. We lost our loved ones to get rid of life presidency, why would the Bishop accept a golden hand shake from a life president? All he had to do is say, no, thank you. Period!
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+1 #26 gwok 2018-04-21 01:12
Quoting amen:
Remase,
You raise substantial issues, however reflect back to what the archbishop said about the anonymous caller.

About him the bishop,Joining the late Luwum!!!!!. ......


Sir, the Archbishop shouted aloud in order to (a) cover his back

If he remained quiet, his god knows would have expected his unplanned earlier arrival. (b) precaution earlier & potential "confessors" to be more careful, his surroundings being unsafe .

(c) Sacrificially, to dare M7 touch him. (d) etc. Anyway, they are back together again. That round goes to M7 because he has successfully defused a potential conflict that he could not have won and at the same time pocketing the irritating cleric.

After that heavy eating, we should not expect the cleric to open his mouth against M7 again.
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0 #27 amen 2018-04-23 11:44
Remase,

thanks, your opinion is spot on.
However, we need to read between the lines.
bottom line, he, the archbishop, has blood too like all us and he likes this earthly life like you and me, not so.?!
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