Gov’t Under Fire Over Religious Leaders
A group of legislators have Tuesday sternly warned government against attempts to frame critical religious leaders.
Led by Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikuubo, the furious MPs said harassing the clergy is an abuse of authority which they would not tolerate.
“Government should immediately refrain from attempts to muzzle the clergy. Instead it should solve issues that affect society,” charged Ssekikuubo during a press briefing at Parliament.
The MPs based on a story that appeared in Sunday Monitor of May 13, showing government is in the process of framing religious leaders and detain them over trumped up charges.
Recently, Archbishop Kizito Lwanga said there was a plot to link church leaders to subversive activities.
Kizito said the Catholic Church was in possession of documents detailing security agencies’ plan to accuse the clergy of supporting rebels.
As the pressure mounted on government, Minister of Information Mary Karooro Okurut today issued a press statement, denying the media reports.
Below is the verbatim statement.
The Government of Uganda is deeply concerned about the false and inflammatory content in the lead story of Sunday Monitor of 13th May 2012.
The gist of the article was that the government is in the process of framing religious leaders, particularly the clergy, arrest and detain the over trumped up charges.
According to the article, this purported action by government is intended to muzzle the clergy some of whom have been advocating for the restoration of presidential term limits.
For instance, in the article it was stated that through security agencies, government is in the process of planting “evidence”, particularly fire-arms in residences of the said clergy, arrest and charge them with terrorism.
Other offences that government was reported to be plotting against the clergy included rape and defilement.
To say the very least, any allegations that the NRM government is attempting to frame the clergy are not only false but outrageous and can only raise questions about the motives of the writer/publisher.
The NRM government has a well-documented track record of rooting out lawlessness and restoring the rule of law.
Besides, the government has never used underhand methods like the ones being mentioned in the Sunday Monitor article.
While the government discourages the clergy from openly issuing partisan statements, there is no way government can even think of framing them.
The NRM government has never used under-hand methods like the ones being cited in the article.
President Museveni himself is known to be a champion of dialogue and engagement to resolve issues of disagreement amicably.
The NRM government that has reached out to even armed/terrorist groups like the LRA would never even contemplate “framing” and arresting anybody – let alone the clergy!
This can only be part of the well-orchestrated efforts by those with ulterior motive in their futile attempt to tarnish the good image of the NRM government.
The President is on record, having said that he will invite religious leaders for a conference to discuss among others how to attract investors in order to more jobs.
Such engagement and open discussion is the hallmark of the NRM’s method of work.
It is disappointing that the media continues buying into and giving prominence to such misguided efforts to tarnish the government’s image.
Even then, the government treats such allegations and futile smear efforts with the contempt they deserve.
Finally, Government strongly advises the public to disregard all the contents of Sunday Monitor’s story and treat all similar smear ploys with the utmost contempt.
Hon. Mary Karooro Okurut (MP)
Minister of Information and National Guidance
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Updated on 2013-05-09 09:25
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