Clerics caution Ugandans against violence as polls draw closer

The Inter-Religious Council of Uganda has called for concerted efforts to fight against election violence as the country goes to the polls, in less than a week. The caution comes at the backdrop of cases of violence, which have also resulted in the loss of lives during the campaign period.  

More than 50 people lost their lives in November last year in protests that followed the arrest of the National Unity Platform-NUP presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu in Luuka. He was accused of disregarding guidelines issued by the Electoral Commission and the Ministry of Health, to control the spread of coronavirus disease, even in a heated campaign.  

Drawing from that experience and a series of other incidents, the council is moving around the country meeting security, religious leaders, the youths, women and the media, among others, with a message of promoting peace. The team was in Mbale on Thursday, meeting leaders from the greater Eastern Region which includes the sub-region of Bugisu, Sebei, Bukedi, Busoga, Teso and Karamoja.    

Bishop Joshua Lwere, the General Overseer of the National Fellowship of Born Again Pentecostal Churches of Uganda and one of the Seven members of the Inter-Religious council said the dialogue comes at a time when the country is experiencing intense political violence.  He observed a need for a collaborative engagement in fighting for peace during and after the elections.  

Ali Waiswa, the Second Deputy Mufti of Uganda said that religious leaders are readily available to address the consequences of the violence, during and after the elections.   He added that they equally have a duty to ensure that peace prevails in the country.   

Abdallah sabiila, the District Kadhi of Sebei who spoke on behalf of the Sebei Delegation said that the use of the state machinery to oppress the opposition is what is causing the current violence. He said that there is looming violence stemming from Candidates who want to win at all costs.  


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