By Eddie Ssejjoba
Born Again Church leaders have condemned the attack with acid on a colleague, Pastor Umaru Mulinde and asked the government to hunt down the culprits and bring them to book.
The leaders also said they were willing to pay for the services of Scotland Yard to find the assailants.
Speaking to journalists at Nakivubo Stadium, Bishop David Kiganda, the overseer of the National Fellowship of Born-Again Pentecostal Churches in Kampala, referred to the attack as an act of terrorism.
He said anybody could be the next target and he asked the government to come out strongly to fight the vice, saying similar attacks had been made on Christians in Nigeria where scores have been killed.
In response, Bishop Kiganda said the Christian Focus Center Church had organized a big prayer day and night at Nakivubo on December 31 to pray for Mulinde and ask God to end acts of terrorism in Uganda, among other things.
Unknown assailants on Christmas Eve attacked Mulinde and burnt him with acid in the face. He was still undergoing treatment at International Hospital Kampala. Mulinde, a former sheikh came to the limelight when he slaughtered a pig in Masaka town putting on a Muslim cap and later mobilized Christians to slaughter animals for themselves.
Mulinde converted many but he clashed with some Muslims who were opposed to his preaching.
“We want all stakeholders in the fight against terrorism to come out and condemn this acid attack. We ask the Mufti, the Cardinal, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda and others to condemn this act,” he said.
He said doctors at IHK were still monitoring Mulinde’s condition but they would fly him out of the country for further treatment if the doctors recommend so. He said the ‘Balokole’ brothers were taking good care of the Pastor and did not need ‘any fundraising for him’ but added that whoever felt sympathetic for him was free to donate him anything.
“We have freedom of worship in Uganda and there is no sense condemning somebody who decides to convert to another faith-No God believes in killing his own people,” he explained.
Narrating Mulinde’s ordeal soon after he was attacked, Kiganda said they saw the pastor in critical condition and rushed him to Mengo hospital. He said they later contacted some doctors who recommended the apostle be referred to IHK.
Kiganda was however confident that the police would do a thorough job in its investigations.
He said though they had some knowledge about the attackers, they wanted the police to do its job without prejudice.
“There is no God who is weak that he needs somebody to kill for him, if God was annoyed with Mulinde’s acts, he would work on him by himself, not other people,” he said.
He however said they would not revenge or resort to mob action to seek justice unless the police failed to execute its job.
He also called on government to restrict the use of acid, saying such cases of acid attack were on the increase.
He however said Born-Again leaders were neither scared nor panicking about the attack on Mulinde saying they always expected such atrocities on them in their quest to serve God.
“Jesus was also hunted and terrorized, we shall not fear persecution because even Paul the Apostle was treated in the same way though we don’t know who will follow amongst us,” he said.
The gathering, according to Kiganda would also pray for an end to corruption and the country’s staggering economy.
He said they wanted to join hands with President Yoweri Museveni to end graft in the country but him (Museveni) to always involve religious leaders in vetting his ministers as one of the strategies of fighting corruption.
According to Kiganda, Churches and Mosques would need to recommend the ministerial candidates and retain the mandate of condemning them in case one is involved in a corruption scandal.
“It is difficult for us to condemn people we even don’t know where they pray from. We should be consulted so that we vet ministers and be in position to recall the corrupt or deny them further recommendations,” he said.
He said the nation was tired of big people ‘who feel their stomachs and leave others crying without drugs, roads and other necessities’.
The officer in charge Old Kampala police station, Jane Namisango attended the meeting and assured the Christians that the police would put measures to prevent any terrorism attacks. She asked the public to be on the alert saying any suspected acts of terrorism must be immediately reported to the authorities.