LUBAGA – On Wednesday, all roads led to Lubaga Catholic Cathedral in Kampala for mass dedicated to the Members of Parliament and people who were brutalized and arrested during the violence in Arua Municipality that also claimed the life of one person.
The Mass, which was organised by artistes, attracted thousands of people, among them opposition politicians. Leader of Opposition in Parliament Betty Aol Achan and her predecessor Winnie Kizza were among several MPs, mainly from the opposition, present.
Clad in T-shirts reading “Free Bobi Wine” and “Hon. Zaake Francis needs our prayers”, the artistes, in particular, were praying for one of their member, Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, who is incarcerated at Makindye Military Barracks, and his colleague, Mr Francis Zaake of Mityana Municipality, who is hospitalised at Rubaga Hospital with severe torture injuries.
Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, former FDC president Kiiza Besigye and DP president Nobert Mao were also present.
Mass led by Rev Fr Joseph Mary Ssebunya then got underway, with the congregation joining in singing various songs praising God. The mood was sombre.
Fr Ssebunya, in his homily, condemned the security officers’ brutality on protesters, politicians and journalists in the Monday protests and called for tolerance of all political views. This attracted ululation from the crowd.
With Mass over, time for speeches came. First was a message from Buganda Kingdom that was represented by its attorney general, Mr Daudi Mpanga.
“Buganda desires a united people working together. We call upon authorities to act within the law. We don’t want that situation where you fall in your own trap,” Mr Mpanga said to loud cheers.
Then came another from Kampala Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, who called for self-respect and pursuit of constitutionalism.
“Our actions, abuses may lead to more violence. We need to exercise self-respect, stick to the constitution and avoid deviating from the law,” the Archbishop said in a statement read by Fr. Ssebunya.
Then a time came for Bobi Wine’s wife Barbie Kyagulanyi to address the congregation. She moved to the pulpit with some of the MP’s brothers, sisters and cousins.
Barbie said it was inhuman to confine her husband in a military facility instead of the hospital where he needs healthcare.
After other rounds of applause, candles were lit in support to the two members of Parliament who were tortured.
“I have seen him twice and he requested every one of you to pray for him. My husband requested that all of you light a candle when you pray for him,” she said and at this point, most of the attendees lit their candles.
By the end of Mass, the sombre mood had turned to joy contentment as the artistes after mass gathered in front of the cathedral to sing songs in support of Bobi Wine.