Pressure is mounting on Catholic priests that have been speaking out against the government’s excesses especially those that characterized the 2021 general elections.
According to Rev. Fr. Paul Kato, a priest attached Busagula parish in Masaka diocese, he and some of his colleagues in the diocese had either received messages threatening them to end their criticism of the government.
“Our colleague, Fr. Mayanja was approached by operatives from Kasijjagirwa [army barracks] who told him to kept quiet or risk death; I have received similar messages on phone but I want to tell whoever thinks that we can be intimidated, no amount of threats will intimidate me into silence,” Fr. Kato said.
This was part of his homily at a thanksgiving mass hosted by Mathias Mpuuga moments after he sworn-in as MP for the newly created Nyendo – Mukungwe constituency in Masaka city. The same mass was used to pray for the National Unity Platform (NUP) president Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (Bobi Wine) plus the party’s supporters who died in the heat of the presidential campaigns as well as those incarcerated over charges connected to their role in the 2021 political campaigns.
“I have heard voices saying that priests should not make political comments but man is a political animal; I am a political animal, and, whoever thinks that it is wrong for religious leaders to comment on political events, let them be reminded that man is born a political animal,” Fr. Kato said.
He went as far as speaking proudly about his role in the previous presidential and parliamentary campaigns.
Basing his preachings on the significance of the day of the Ascension Day which was observed by the Church last weekend, Fr. Kato said that for the country to move forward, it is better for leaders that have been in power for so long to leave the stage.
“Leaders who cling onto power, have self-reflection with the Ascension of Jesus because for him, after 33 years, he was satisfied that he had concluded his mission on earth and went back to heaven,” the youthful priest said.
“God has showed us the good leaders of this generation – Bobi Wine, Erias Lukwago, Medard Lubega Sseggona etc… we should discard fear if we have to liberate our country. There is a hope for defeating Satan that is manifested in bad governance, poverty and human rights violations,” he added.
He said that after the amendment that scrapped the constitutional age limits for presidential hopefuls, the country no longer has a constitution to be proud of.
In the aftermath of the 2021 general elections, the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) blamed the Catholic Church for the disappointing results the party recorded especially in Buganda region.
While the party hoped that the church would prevail over its clergy, critical voices from the alter are only increasing.