Uganda: Prayers Will Not End Corruption
I am honestly appalled by the way some Ugandans have chosen to vulgarize spiritual matters, all in the name of fighting corruption. The kind of wind currently sweeping across the country has unfortunately not left majority of the church leaders standing as they have inadvertently joined into the chorus.
|President Museveni in a prayer function P. courtesy|
For all and sundry, the vice of corruption has caused so much mayhem as has been elaborated by various civil society organizations, notably the Black Monday Movement. In the latest advocacy technique, the Movement is calling on all to join together for prayers at the Human Rights Network offices (HURINET), apparently for an “Interdenominational Memorial Mass for all Mothers and Children that have died owing to avoidable ailments that wouldn’t have occurred had our Health Expenditure been managed better”!!!
I know that in recent times, the group’s members have been repeatedly interrupted by the police as they distributed the Black Monday Newsletter. Police is not against fighting corruption but is cautious about the likely outcomes of inciting the public. Possibly it would not be surprising if the police interfered with the so-called memorial mass, which by all means appears rather showy as opposed to being pregnant with spiritual connotation.
Such kind of public prayers are not a new development in Uganda. In the past couple of years, we’ve been having national prayers that have been attended by high profile dignitaries notably from within government, including the folks listed in corruption scums. Has anyone carried out an audit to ascertain how much such prayers have contributed towards alleviating the problems around us? How come the bad manners in Uganda only seem to be on the rise? Yes, many mothers and children (and of course fathers and everybody else) have died due to all sorts of causes. To what extent could anyone justify that the causes of death “could have been avoided if funds for the health sector had been managed better?” One would need an empirical analysis of each of the deaths in question to rule out other causes-after all, who can claim to have the power to stop death?
I think it’s absolutely out of order for us to start listing the use of public prayers as part of our advocacy tactics, otherwise it’s turning out into a mere show and a mockery of God. Granted, corruption has led to some deaths of innocent citizens- but does anyone honestly believe that we can put God on pressure to act through public prayers? In fact, someone who locks himself in his room and spends a few minutes of quiet and peaceful meditation could have greater impact than the public gatherings in town.
Each time we go to church, there’s usually a public moment of confession. In the Catholic Church particularly, there’s where one’s supposed to strike one’s chest and repeatedly say “I am a sinner; I am a sinner; I am a sinner.” Hiding behind the chorus, it’s normally very easy to recite the creed. However, during the Lenten season, some churches organize one-on-one confession moments where an individual enters a confession box and spills all his sins to God through the ear of the priest. Such to me, is the moment of truth that we all need-otherwise, we could be chasing after people with specs in their eyes while we are carrying logs in our own.
I am struggling to come to terms with the trend of affairs in the Ugandan society today, and something needs to be done to address this dire situation of moral turpitude. It’s in our generation that pastors announce their healing power;-just as witch doctors do; in our generation that churches advertise prayers;-just as musicians advertise their shows; it’s in our time where one needs to pay a fee in order to be prayed for-these things must stop.
How do people ever come to the point where they can treat one another so badly as many do today. They have lost all sense of compassion as they have lowered themselves, in behavior at least, to the level of animals, ruled by instinct and oblivious to any sense of right and wrong.
A favorite way to deal with one's misdeeds today is to simply blame them on somebody else. It is the parents' fault, or the husband's, or the wife's, or peer’s, or society's. And, oh! What misdeeds the previous generations did to bring us to such. It's all their fault, of course, that we are reeling from the upheavals that plague our nation. It's not our fault! Is it?
This is not the first generation to excuse its rotten behavior and the physical suffering it produces on previous generations. It is not the first to echo the plaintive cry, "We are not responsible!"
During Prophet Ezekiel’s time, it had become a fashionable excuse to blame the plight of the nation of Israel on the previous generations. It is not that those generations were without fault, they were not, it is just that the present generation shared the responsibility for their plight. They had drawn a clever picture of a parent eating a sour grape but the children's teeth being set on edge as if to say they were only innocent victims and not to blame for their suffering and error. The Lord told them to stop using that ridiculous proverb because it wasn't true. It's not true today either. Let those who have ears listen.
By Tumusiime K. Deo
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