JUNE 23, 2010: Kololo Prayers - Target Was the Electorate, Not God

Kololo Prayers - Target Was the Electorate, Not God
SOURCE: The Monitor
By Augustine Ruzindana

I wish to profusely apologise to Mr Mayanja Nkangi for having mistaken him to be an NRM member whereas he is a supporter and patron of CP.

It was indeed unnecessary to ascribe a party to him to make my point that former officials of Mengo are as free as anyone else to participate in politics. There is no doubt that all those who serve at Mengo, other than the Kabaka, are not covered by the constitutional provisions relating to cultural leaders.

Neither are all princes and princesses covered by the constitutional definition of "traditional leader or cultural leader" which means "a king or similar traditional leader or cultural leader by whatever name called, who derives allegiance from the fact of birth or descent..." (Article 246 (6)).

There is therefore no reason for threats of a repeat of the 1966 Crisis merely because people who served at Mengo exercised their right to support political positions different from those of the ruling party.

National Day For Prayer and Repentance: Sunday June 20 was declared by the President a National Day for Prayer and Repentance. I watched the official proceedings at Kololo on TV. The major religions - Muslims, Catholics and Anglicans can be said to have been largely escorts to the Pentecostals who dominated the prayers. There was a lot of praying and singing but I never saw or heard anyone repent corruption or killing unarmed civilians in Kampala, at Kasubi etc, and all the other crimes the government has failed to control.

Corruption comprises of certain criminal offences which fall within the Executive function to fight through its various arms like the Police, the courts and administrative sanctions taken against its errant officials. How then is God supposed to assist to punish such culprits for corruption where the President and his officials have failed or refused to act?

The climax of Kololo prayers was a sermon by the President designed to bond with the largely Christian audience. This was a self-serving political exercise, even if there was a sprinkling of opposition members in the audience. The target was the electorate, not God. The faithful address their prayers to God every day and on their respective days (Sunday, Friday and Saturday) during the week. It cannot be presumed that God became more attentive and responsive to prayers ordered by a President whose rule is characterised by routine violation of the rights of God's creatures.

Government and Heritage Dispute: Saturday Vision of June 19 informed us that "Oil extraction hits snag" because of "tax disagreements" between Heritage Oil and Gas Company Ltd and the government. The government is insisting that Heritage has to pay capital gains tax if it sells its rights to another company. That is as it should be.

But Heritage has refused arguing that it is not subject to the tax and it is therefore referring the dispute for arbitration in London in accordance with Article 26 of the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA). This provision equates the Ugandan state to Heritage company, thus negating the element of the public interest and sovereignty of Uganda. The Energy Institute to which the dispute may be referred is not a neutral or impartial entity as it represents oil companies and oil professionals in Britain, without representatives of oil producing developing countries.

The current chair of the Institute is a Shell UK high official and he is responsible for selecting the expert to adjudicate the dispute. The Uganda government must, therefore, account to the people of Uganda as to why it agreed to a close that may cost the country $400 million. This is just the beginning of the heavy "losses" in this sector.

Mr Ruzindana is the FDC deputy secretary general for policy and research