Victoria University students heard that religious leaders are not doing what is enough to shape the political agenda of Uganda. The critical observation was reached at during a public dialogue which took place at Victoria University campus on Jinja Road in Kampala.
The public dialogue was organized together with Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC) under the theme “Religion, Politics and National Identity: A Look at the 2016 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections.” Former presidential candidate Maj Gen Benon Biraaro was chief guest and speaker.
Speaking at the dialogue, Maj Gen Biraaro said religious leader have not put democracy high on their agenda adding that churches and mosques are not democratic enough internally and lack the moral standards to guide this country.
Angelo Izama, a journalist while giving a key note address to students said religion has lost its influence on setting political agenda unlike in the past. “The religious institutions lost their moral power to have an influence in politics because bent low for politics,” Izama stated.
Maj Gen Biraaro who became a people’s darling because of his articulation of issues and having a good political plan for this country during the last two presidential debates speaking at Victoria University said morality has taken a back seat in politics. Morality is the loser, he emphasized.
“We need to go back to the drawing board. Let’s say we want to create a path were a loser will congratulate the winner. Let’s agree to a position when you lose and congratulate the winner,” Maj Gen Biraaro said in reference to the continued impasse between President Museveni and opposition leaders.
The retired soldier and a bush war hero, who also believes that democracy in Uganda has not failed but rather needs to be given a chance to start, says he is looking at a national dialogue that will bring together Ugandans to find a political solution to the situation the country has found itself in.
“We need to give dialogue maximum time. If I go at it alone it won’t work. I am looking for men and women of integrity. The problem is that when I contact some of them, they ask me - do you think president Museveni will like it – I feel bad.” Maj Gen Biraaro says of his effort to put in place a national dialogue to make Uganda better politically.
While Maj Gen Biraaro and Izama would love to see religious leaders play a part in the politics of the country some students explained that this is not right citing the constitution which bars religious leaders from directly getting involved in the country’s politics.