Rev. Fr. Gaetano Batanyenda, the outspoken parish priest of Kitanga in Kabale Diocese has apologized for ‘misleading people’ into supporting President Yoweri Museveni and the National Resistance Movement.
Fr Batanyenda said in the past he mobilized support for President Museveni and the NRM party because of the good personality of its leader, and also because the party was organized, something he said has since changed.
The President’s friend-turned-critic says Museveni and the NRM have diverted from the original values that they stood for shortly after taking office.
He noted however, that even though he is not at the best of terms with the people running it, he still is an NRM member.
“I am sorry for the people that I convinced to support NRM and President Museveni. Today I am asking those people that are seeing what I am seeing in the party, to join me in the struggle to see that NRM is revived,” he told Chimpreports on Wednesday.
Batanyenda, who was a grass root mobilizer of President Museveni since 1996, says he started noticing changes in 2005 when the constitution was amended and the term limits removed.
He accused the NRM government of continually disrespecting institutions like Parliament and the Judiciary.
Speaking in response to Gaetano’s comments however, government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo described the priest as “an opportunist perpetual attention seeker, now in his twilight days not very serious with what he claims to stand for, and therefore not worth paying so much attention to.”
“That is the cheap popularity he is seeking by alleging unsubstantiated claims,” Opondo added in reference to the Clerics’s concerns about disrespecting of government institutions.
“NRM is the one that resurrected all the public institutions and common rules including parliament, judiciary and the constitution itself and the rule of law,” he said.
“NRM has never condoned abuse of the rules or state institutions weaknesses notwithstanding.”