Museveni Tells Pastors to Avoid Politics

An opinion piece in the Kampala Monitor accuses Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni of hypocrisy:

About one and a half years ago, a leader of a sprawling Pentecostal Church in a valley between Makerere University and Mulago hospital, boasted that President Yoweri Museveni in part owed his triumph in the 2006 election to his “holy” waters.

Pastor Samuel Kakande said the President had visited the Synagogue Church of all Nations during the campaigns where he was blessed to attain victory.

Around 2003/4 leaders of Pentecostal churches also reportedly offered to mobilise some four million voters of their faithful to support the President’s bid for a third term.

Museveni has also enjoyed the support of prominent American neo-Pentecostals; as I’ve blogged, he has recceived endorsements from Morris Cerullo and Benny Hinn, and there are links with Creflo Dollar (that nasty business in 2006 in which an American evangelist named Peter Waldron was locked up on terrorism charges and then released seems to have been forgotten).

However, Museveni is now planning a land reform bill, and a number of pastors have criticised it. Suddenly, Museveni wants religious leaders to concentrate on the spiritual side of things and avoid meddling in politics. The New Vision reported:

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has lashed out at religious and traditional leaders who engage in politicking over land.

“I hear some religious and traditional leaders commenting on everything. The issue of land comes, the priest is the one to talk first. Why don’t you wait for your time? Should I also start baptizing?” Museveni asked.

He advised the clergy to first understand the issues before commenting on them.

Museveni defended his rebuke a few days ago:

“There are many ways of removing a government. We have tamed the army and introduced democracy. But somebody can use inciting statements to create instability”, he said.

If religious leaders had complaints, they should forward them to him privately, the way the late Cardinal Nsubuga used to do, he advised.

But if they have anything positive to say about the president, presumably they should shout it from the pulpits…

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