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Daily Monitor Editorial | Shrine visits – Officials must act responsibly

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Posted May 26, 2016 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Inside Politics ~ 2,158 views

     

The Parliament Speaker, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, is in the news for visiting a shrine ostensibly to thank ancestral spirits for her re-election as Speaker and Member of Parliament. Ms Kadaga is a self-confessing Christian. The dissimilarity of her action is telling and explains the public furor and, in some cases, ridicule following her supplication to traditional mysticism.

The Speaker’s split personality manifests the duality of our society and its leadership: an unending battle of allegiance to indigenous cultures and customs as well as a simultaneous embrace of Western religion. In his book, Sowing the Mustard Seed, President Museveni writes that he was, while in the bush as a guerilla leader, persuaded to jump over a decapitated chicken to guarantee success of the National Resistance Army rebellion.

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Gilbert Bukenya, a professor of medicine, while still Uganda’s vice president and on official duty, strayed to and prayed at a traditional shrine for his and President Museveni’s political feats. And Koboko Municipality MP Evelyn Anite paid homage to spirits at a native ancestral sanctuary. What we question is why all these high-profile political leaders, if they choose to follow traditional religion, visit shrines in official vehicles and accompanied by media?

It is both unfathomable and unjustifiable that fuel bought, and official guards and a coterie of subordinates paid, by tax payers’ money were engaged to chauffer Uganda’s third most important citizen deep into a thicket where she hunkered in an under-rocks grotto littered with fetishes in search for benediction.

Maj Eria Nantamu, the prime minister of Kadaga’s Baise Igaga Clan, said each clansman and woman is required to visit the traditional sacred site at least once a year in fulfilment of a long-standing cultural norm. Such defence does not go far in explaining why public resources were expended on a trip structured for a presumed individual gain.

We hold the view that these highly publicised shrine visits by national leaders, even if for cultural purposes, have the unintended potential to romanticise witchcraft or sorcery as acceptable as long as it brings blessings.

This should worry in a country where child sacrifices by fortune hunters are, according to police crime reports, on the rise. If presumably sophisticated leaders believe that visiting shrines and making offering bring personal and professional prosperity, it hamstrings them to tell the under-class in their constituencies that, for example, sorcery is debauched. National leaders must act with the responsibility that their high offices bestow upon them.

Source — Daily Monitor and NBS Television News video.


About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

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