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The chief lecturer doesn’t want lectures!

Last weekend, the intrepid bishop of Rwenzori diocese, the Rt Rev Reuben Kisembo, spoke candidly to Uganda’s long-surviving ruler: “It’s time to hang your boots, Mr President. It’s good for you and for the country.”

Very old advice, but remarkable coming from a man of God!

Any spiritual leader worth their name, more so a bishop, should have the courage to speak out on the side of what is right and against what is wrong. To not do so is to abdicate and fail to live up to the duty of pastoral leadership.

Bishop Kisembo’s pointed comments made news yet, ordinarily, it should be part of his pastoral responsibility to speak truth to power. Problem is, religious institutions and spiritual figures were co-opted into the Museveni patronage machine through material inducements and different forms of handouts. Others are simply intimidated into silence.

The courage and candour of Bishop Kisembo has been a rarity among men and women of God who, instead, are wont to preach the rather misleading gospel of prosperity and exhorting the flock to pray for “our leaders who all come from God.”

Little wonder, therefore, that Museveni had to swiftly lash out at Bishop Kisembo, characteristically retorting that he does not want any lectures about what to do for Uganda and from individuals not qualified. Reason? He knows it all and Bishop Kisembo knows nothing!

For starters, Bishop Kisembo’s piece of advice was anything but a lecture, directed at someone with an incredible knack for delivering long and winding lectures.

But even if it was an unsolicited lecture, would the chief-lecturer, who purports to know all Uganda’s problems, have had a problem if the man of God spoke glowingly of him, outlined our many problems and said only one man has the rare capacity to comprehend them, then wrapped up his long lecture by calling on Uganda’s saviour to rule until God calls him? Of course not.

The president and his courtiers have no problem with the clergy and spiritual notables who preach the gospel of ‘Museveni the Great’, how he is such a rare leader that God blessed Uganda with. Instead, they have a big problem with critical voices that air inconvenient truth and cast an uncomfortable spotlight on the dire political situation we face.

For Mr Museveni, the first category, which forms part of a long list of praise-singers, sycophants, and clients benefiting from handouts, are doing no wrong when they overtly root for him even during worship time and silently conspire to keep him in power.

The second category, the minority that sees a big danger for the country and speaks out against an imperial president with a delusional sense of owning Uganda’s destiny, is berated and labelled undisciplined for meddling in politics.

The hypocrisy of applying two standards on the same people and with regards to the same set of issues is quite obvious. Not surprising for this is integral to the deception of an authoritarian ruler and the cavalier mentality that attends personalized systems of rule.

Last December at a hotel in the eastern town of Mbale, I ran into a powerful grey-haired member of the ruling clan who has been in cabinet since they captured power. He told me in no uncertain terms to, as he put it, “cut your losses and forget because we are here for a long, long time.”

It is in this spirit of raw arrogance and unpolished bravado that we are ruled. Quite a lot is done with lightening impunity. They captured power and annexed the country as personal property. They can rule with hubris and chide whoever criticizes their modus operandi, however constructive.

Thus, Salim Saleh, with no official government position, can literally command his way around including insisting on illegal sand-mining activities inside Lake Victoria regardless of the environmental and aquatic negative externalities. He can tell off local authorities and ignore statutory regulatory agencies because his power trumps everyone else, except the ultimate ruler.

Obviously, this state of affairs is bad for majority Ugandans. But the real bad news is that for the long term, it is bad for everyone, including, yes, the rulers. A system built on personal rule where the ruler sees himself (it’s almost never her) as the absolute and timeless custodian of everything thinkable is without a doubt untenable. It is just a matter of time.

As I have written here before, examples abound around the world; and in the case of Uganda, one only needs to look right next door. The end inevitably comes, and in ways that not many would ever anticipate, let alone precisely predict.

When the hour of reckoning arrives, the ground becomes levelled such that even the cabal that operated with exaggerated assuredness finds that the world around has dramatically and rapidly shifted in very undesirable directions.

This is the very humble yet incredibly powerful counsel of Bishop Kisembo, both for the good of the rulers and for the country. Sadly, because the rulers mistakenly believe they know it all and are blinded by the sweet echoes of their own lectures, they see the message from a genuine ‘lecture’ as annoyingly intrusive.


The author is  an assistant professor of political science at North Carolina State University.


0 #1 kelem 2018-02-15 11:24
The guy is full of him self and behaves like a demi god!!
The end will surely come and soon by the way.
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0 #2 Mike kaka 2018-02-16 00:22
Our dear supreme lecturer doesn't need lectures from mere mortals because, as he always reminds us, he's the only one in uganda with a vision. our immortal fountain of youth & honor is above us all ordinary folks but closer to God, case in point, during his recent visit to luweero, he reaped pineapples from tomato seeds he'd planted & bottle irrigated months earlier.

Ehere can you find such a miracle except in the bible? No lectures, No change.
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-1 #3 Remase 2018-02-16 13:51
"Any spiritual leader worth their name, more so a bishop, should have the courage to speak out on the side of what is right and against what is wrong. To not do so is to abdicate and fail to live up to the duty of pastoral leadership."

I should add that all leaders in different institutions should do the same and that will go a long way to keep Ugandans on truck to get rid of M7.

Problem is, Mengo/Kabaka Mutebi and others were co-opted into the Museveni patronage machine through material inducements and different forms of handouts.

As I have repeatedly stated in my comments, the main beneficially of M7's patronage are Mengo/Kabaka Mutebi who are hooked on M7 and have never come out to say what Bishop Kisembo stated.

However, Katikiro Mayiga came out to urge us to continue to support M7's life presidency! More so Mengo/kabaka Mutebi, should come out to speak out on the side of what is right and against what is wrong. To not do so is to abdicate and fail to live up to their duty.
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+1 #4 Lysol 2018-02-17 00:19
Museveni is not a "chief lecturer" but a mere political demagogue.

There is nothing worth listening to from him, which we have not heard from him before. From a man who is a bumblebee.
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0 #5 ejakait engoraton 2018-02-17 13:54
REMASE, may I humbly beg to differ on your assertion about Mengo/Kabaka/Katikiro.

Of all the institutions , cultural or otherwise including some briefcase ones, MENGO is the one among a few( probably only) that does not need the patronage of M 7 , at least financially as was demonstrated by their snub of the present given to them sometime back.

MENGO has the ability, unlike most, to survive and carry out most of its activities, even if that sometimes means fundraising, without relying on the state.

Of all these institutions, there is none that M 7 would like to bring to its knees, or if possible abolish completely. M 7 can use what MENGO does to reign in other institutions, but is not so bothered what the others, like Emorimor does, the reason he tries to use the Sabanyala, Sabakooki, to incite MENGO so that they do something to give him cause. What MENGO is doing is "playing smart", like MAO said the bully/coward in M 7 is trying to use the "little boy" syndrome.
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0 #6 ejakait engoraton 2018-02-17 14:04
IN warfare or in a fight, you do not try to take on, at least by conventional means, someone whom you know to be much stronger than you.

This you only do in a suicide mission. MENGO is being smart, and do not want to be MARTYRS.

They are living to fight another day. IF you want to be a martyr, you are free to do so.

IN the Bible, when JESUS says "give unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar...........", he was NOT endorsing the ROMAN empire, who were an OCCUPYING force in ISRAEL, but facing the reality in that if the Israelites did not freely pay taxes and tribute to ROME, Rome would do it forcefully. MENGO is being smart, you probably did not lose a relative in the Kayunga riots , so are free to advocate an attack on the brutal state, that will stop at nothing to put down any show of dissent with maximum and brutal force.
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0 #7 ejakait engoraton 2018-02-17 15:15
I wonder if the IRONY is lost on us. Just yesterday, the 16th of Feb, we as a nation were celebrating our own St LUWUM, a person who was killed because he dared to stand up to the powers that be of the day, and tell them the truth as it was.

Mind you, it is well known that there is no doubt that arms were found at his house or premises that were under his control, an act that would be a crime punishable by whatever laws are obtainable in the country at the time.

BUT we also know very well that these arms were put there forcefully, against his wishes, by those who knew, and we know that some who have even recently been in the junta, were then in the dreaded State Research , and did therefore pass on the information about the arms to AMIN.

They knew how AMIN would react and they used this to their own interests. IT is therefore ironical that another person of GOD is being told off for what another is being praised for.
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