A Potent Mix of Politics and Religion

Early this year or was it late last year, my Ghanian Friend, Franklin Cudjoe, challenged me to share the books that have had significant impact on my life.

Yes, it is still on my to do list, for I was trying to be able to show how smart and sophisticated I am by sharing all 10 books at once. I have realized that it is not really an easy task, if one has to do it with absolute honesty.

So, I have decided to share the books that have had great impact on my life, one or two or three at a time, as they make it, through my deep reflection, to my top 10 list. So here are the top there for the moment:

Okot pBitek’s Song of Lawino; Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed; and Stan Burkey’s People First – A guide to self-reliant participatory rural development.

I truly appreciated Song of Lawino in the early 1990s, even though I had come across it during my school days in the 1980s. My work life began in 1992 and that is when I first came across People First and also the Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Reading these books over and over again has benefited me a self-liberation of sorts.

These three books have provided me with a basis – a wealth of knowledge – a consciousness – to appreciate the need to question – to ask the why and how questions of things that are considered the status quo.

The three books have indeed provided me with the critical tools that I need to do my own analysis, to arrive at my own conclusions and to revise my conclusions when presented with knew knowledge.

The three books have provided me with the confidence to know that the status quo is not permanent and that active citizens should not just accept a defeatist mentality of giving up and leaving it to divine intervention.

The three books are on my mind, now more than ever before. This is considering what is happening in Uganda today. A significant section of our population is in defeatist mode and is in disregard and disbelief of our governing systems and institutions. While another is in sycophant mode and are totally oblivious of the societal damage their blindness to the negatives of the leaders they adore does.

Take for instance the handling of the post presidential elections shocks of 2016 by different leaders, ordinary citizens and political parties.

First, I clarify that am biased. I am totally persuaded that the FDC Policy Agenda for Uganda’s Leap Forward route was the more feasible and more viable route for FDC to position itself as the legitimate and formidable alternative to the ruling party.

I thus kind of find the Daily Monitor reports of the FDC prayers in solidarity with Dr. Besigye, a little disturbing. Particularly, when viewed from the Karl Marx lens – you know, the–religion-is-the-opium-of-the-people lens.

Here below are the extracts from the Daily Monitor reports which give me discomfort, accompanied by my commentary:

Gen. Muntu said Dr Kizza Besigye, the party’s flag bearer in the concluded polls, continues to be incarcerated at his home and that the party leadership is now seeking God’s intervention to set him free.

Really, are we now resorting to God’s intervention for a man-made political problems by Ugandans who also consider themselves ‘children of God’ or ‘chosen by God’ to lead? What has happened to FDC’s legal team and its ability to utilize Uganda Courts of Law?

The main celebrant, Pastor Daniel Ngabo of Rock Deliverance Church, who delivered the day’s sermon, invited the participants to their knees to tell God their grievances. He alluded to the Bible in Acts 12, where God sent an Angel to set free Peter, who had been captured and waiting for trial.

I think this is self-explanatory. No need to explain why it makes me uncomfortable. It starts from me wondering about the level of legitimacy and authority (scripture-wise) of the said pastor and the said pastor’s church. My experience with ‘modern’ churches in Uganda and Africa particularly, makes me hesitant …

We have gathered here that the light might shine over us,” Pastor Ngabo said… The power doesn’t belong to President Museveni but the power belongs to God. The strength does not lie in the hands of the government.  What no man can do for us God will do it. You are not alone.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm … Am lost for words.

After the prayer, Pastor Ngabo handed over his Bible to Gen Muntu, saying that no matter how long it will take, it was a sign that the party will be in charge of the country.

Eeeeeeeeeeeh … I remain wordless.

One response to “A Potent Mix of Politics and Religion”

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