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Religious caucuses in Parliament are taking us back to the old curse

By Vision Reporter

Added 30th July 2001 03:00 AM

SIR—I read in amazement the news “Catholic MPs to form caucus” in The New Vision and The Monitor last Monday.

SIR—I read in amazement the news “Catholic MPs to form caucus” in The New Vision and The Monitor last Monday.

SIR—I read in amazement the news “Catholic MPs to form caucus” in The New Vision and The Monitor last Monday. What was most worrisome was some remarks attributed to Winnie Byanyima, MP for Mbarara Municipality. I wish to cite one interesting remark: “The support from the head of the Catholic Church in Uganda, Cardinal Wamala, greatly contributed to my success in Mbarara. For us Catholics, you have put so much risk to yourself and to others. I can recall many occasions during campaigns when you took the whole night to see them.” In another remark, Byanyima was quoted as admiring the activities of the Cardinal: “I know there will be so many phone calls to ask you why you are calling a sectarian meeting, and so much pressure will be exerted to tell you not to lead your flock. And we are your flock. So, thank you for having the courage to call us together to know each other and deepen our values.” In my view, Winnie is in reality evoking fundamentalist values. Like any Machiavellian, Winnie clearly demonstrates that she is ready to be and do anything in her quest for state power. Today, she will scream as a nationalist and true revolutionary, the next day when it suits her she will evoke ethnic sentiments and now you can hear her encouraging the resurgence of the Catholic Action Group! About her success in the recent hotly contested election in Mbarara, I do not believe that Byanyima won due to her strong Catholic values or many Catholic supporters. As a politician, she must have had her Catholic card up her sleeves, but in the open she must have presented a different face, which most likely contributed greatly to her success. But all said and done, my main worry is that some Ugandans actually never learn anything new. I do not believe that the best way to champion Catholic interests is to tap sectarian sentiments. Under the Movement, opportunities for all hitherto marginalised groups are more than the threats to these groups’ survival. It is therefore important that all well meaning citizens pursue a line of gradual but sure eradication of imbalances. Emancipation should not lead to unnecessary upheavals and set-backs in the country. Burundi and Algeria are bleeding because of fundamentalism. F. Kibirige, Kampala

Religious caucuses in Parliament are taking us back to the old curse

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