Kampala, Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, yesterday told the government not to treat the Church as an enemy of the State and warned that if such animosity continues, Uganda’s ugly past is bound to repeat itself.


“The truth between the Church and politics is that the Church is not against the State as some people are telling the public. The remarks we make are none other than those telling the truth because the Church is the conscience of the State. So please, see us as your conscience and we shall continue being a good conscience,” Archbishop Lwanga said. The Catholic Archbishop made the remarks while addressing mourners at the burial of former Archbishop of Church of Uganda, Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo, at the Anglican Martyrs Shrine in Namugongo, Wakiso District, yesterday.

Archbishop Lwanga did not name any particular incident of the State rage against the Church but he has been in the storm with government over his criticism of the manoeuvres to amend the Constitution to remove the presidential age limit. He and other religious leaders under the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU) issued a statement opposing the amendment of Article l02 (b) of the Constitution unless the proposal was subjected to a referendum. They argued that the amendment of the Constitution was of paramount national importance that cannot be decided by Parliament alone.

The religious leaders also rejected the invitation by the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee, which was scrutinizing the Constitution Amendment Bill now an Act, to give their views on the removal of the age limit for the president. They argued that their prior guidance at a press conference was sufficient to prove their position on the matter. Parliament proceeded and passed the Bill to allow President Museveni, aged 73, to contest again after removing the 75-year age barrier previously imposed by Article 102 (b) in the Constitution. During his New Year state message on December 31, President Museveni castigated religious leaders for opposing the removal of age limit. The President accused religious leaders of arrogance. Since then, there have been exchanges between sections of government and religious leaders over the latter’s opposition to the Act.

Archbishop Lwanga told mourners that if the relationship between the Church and the State continues souring, the country will head back to the ugly past when religious leaders were condemned by totalitarian regimes for speaking the truth. “History helps us to understand the present and the past. If you recall the history of the country as the Church is concerned, we have had Church leaders like Archbishop Joseph Kiwanuka, Archbishop Janani Luwum and Cardinal Nsubuga who gave prophetic messages to guide the State but were misunderstood, criticized and even abused yet what they said was the truth and what they prophesied took place,” he said.

The Archbishop asked State informers not to “engineer the truth” and cited an incident in the past when he addressed a press conference in Rubaga and later received a call from President Museveni asking him why he had talked ill of him. “I had not talked about the President and even a State House informer was at the press conference,” he said.


Courtesy of Daily Monitor, January 10, 2018


Illustration photo from NTV, with thanks.



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