Fr. Gaetano’s Views on Presidential Advisors Flawed


link sans-serif; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>I have since been wondering why an active member of clergy would openly involve himself in partisan and arrogant spinning, divisive messaging, and blatant blackmail without fear of dividing his flock or annoying the almighty God.

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In his latest essay, published by the Sunday Monitor on November 3rd 2013, he questions the intelligence of presidential advisors, judges them as political misfits and accuses them of redundancy – as if they report to him and he signs on their appraisal documents. He also without shame and atom of evidence accuses the President of sectarianism. Such basic rants are not new.

Remember, it is un-elucidated statements like the foregoing that made politicians like Dr. Kizza Warren Besigye and Dr. Abed Bwanika lose the little shine they had with people of Uganda.

Ugandans looked at their rants as hate speech and angry salvos devoid of concrete evidence based policy options that Ugandans care about. And as you know, Ugandans are awake and no one should abuse their ingenuity.

First, there is this tendency of people like Fr. Gaetano to seek to hide under their positions of privilege as leaders in church to pursue ulterior and selfish political interests for themselves and other quasi groups.

They use commanding and instructive tones designed to intimidate members of their faith into submission- by releasing essays nuanced as ecumenical letters, messages etcetera as if they are speaking with God’s authority. Luckily, the ideology of NRM based on rock trinity of patriotism, nationalism and pan Africanism has kept Ugandans insulated from revisionism of Fr. Gaetano and his adherents.

Fr. Gaetano should know that Ugandan look up to religious leaders who are bridge builders and not agents of disunity and anarchy. Indeed according Wikipedia the etymological foundations of the holy Catholic Church and its leadership is decked on bridge building- That is why the term “pontiff” derived from the Latin word pontifex, literally means “bridge builder”. Perhaps Fr. Gaetano should look at this keenly.

Accusing the president of sectarianism is a nonstarter. Why did President Museveni’s nomination of Fr. Gaetano Batanyenda to the 1994 Constituency Assembly not make him sectarian but now nomination of other people to different offices make him partisan as Fr. Gaetano claims and wants the country to believe? Does the President become sectarian when he appoints others and not Fr. Gaetano?


But is Fr. Gaetano authentic and living above suspicion? The weekly Observer for example reported that on 2nd/02/2012, people in Kitanga Parish complained against Fr. Gaetano accusing him of soliciting money from Italians for a gravity water scheme project that was already paid for by government of Uganda.

Did Fr. Gaetano receive and divert Euro 22,442 from Italians as alleged? Are accusations of impropriety against him in his handling of affairs of Rukiga SACCO genuine? Shouldn’t activists of Black Monday campaign investigate and speak out on things like these? Shouldn’t the Papal Nuncio in Uganda Monsignor Michael August Blume follow this up?

Out of 98 advisors that Fr. Gaetano points to as earning mega salaries, 60 are actually on retainer earning an average net of 1.6 million shillings per month. They have no other entitlements like gratuity, fuel or any other recurrent costs that would be charged on consolidated fund.

How does this compare to the pay of members of parliament? How does this compare to pseudo consultants in civil society and ministries who earn USD 600 per day? Yet the President solicits advice and inputs on context issues from these advisers.

Most of these advisers that Fr. Gaetano calls political misfits have actually delivered and continue to do so. They are part of the broad-based political stratagem of the NRM. Apart from subject matter and context inputs, presidential advisers are experienced and savvy political operators whose advice has seen NRM present to Ugandans the best package of policy options and actions that have propelled the NRM to continued electoral victories at Presidential, parliamentary and local council levels.

President Museveni’s brand of politics is hugely consultative and he will continually seek to utilize wisdom of senior citizens who have considerable span of experience in politics, business, military, science, religion etc. to manage Uganda better.

Because it is important to tap into brain trust of senior elders, countries like Great Britain run a bicameral parliamentary system, the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The latter is designed to make sure that the knowledge and wisdom of elders in Great Britain is not lost.

With absence of such system in Uganda, senior citizens and subject matter experts like Prof. Apollo Nsibambi, Dr. Ezra Suruma, Mr. Ham Mulira, Princess Elizabeth Bagaya, among others must have a channel to provide wisdom to government of Uganda.

Now this talk of numbers of Presidential advisors. Are 90 or so advisors in a country of 35 million people, a country with diverse contexts, painful history and great prospects for the future too many? Those who say presidential advisors are way too many, why aren’t they calling for a small parliament, small local councils etc.? Isn’t this hypocrisy? According to the 2009 University of Virginia report, some 2,000 to 2,500 persons serve in the Executive Office of the President of United States as advisers and assistants.

Does this make United States extravagant? Sometimes these copycat debates about big or small government are diversionary. What concerns citizens is really delivery of public services. On the journey of public service delivery, the NRM is matching forward dealing with decimation of strategic bottlenecks to growth and development like low energy capacity and infrastructure constraints.

Now it is self-evident that things are happening on this front and citizenry are optimistic. Is Fr. Gaetano blind to mass rural electrification in his backyard? NRM is also systematically dealing with other social challenges in health sector etc. Is Fr. Gaetano not aware of impacts of universal immunization against killer diseases that hamstrung population growth before 1990? So why is Fr. Gaetano pursuing hypocrisy over facts and form?


I am sure Fr. Gaetano knows that hypocrisy is the worst vice on earth. The Holy Bible warns us against hypocrisy. In the book of Mathew, 27-30; Jesus said, “Woe to you Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like white washed tombs that look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of bones of the dead and everything unclean.

In the same way, on the outside you look righteous to people but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness…… for this reason I am sending you prophets and wise men and experts in law, some of whom you will kill and crucify and some you will flog in your synagogues”.

Jesus further teaches us that hypocrites do all their deeds to be seen by people, for they make their phylacteries wide and their tussles long.

They love the place of honor at banquets and the best seat in synagogues. Fellow Ugandans, no matter which political color you wear, we must rescue our politics from the most destructive forms of hypocrisy and double standards being pandered by the likes of Fr. Gaetano Batanyenda.

Special Presidential Assistant – Research and Information


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