KAMPALA – Veteran journalist Joseph Kabuleta has said pastors got a raw deal from President Museveni about the proposed religious policy.
While meeting the pastors on Monday, the President promised to meet with Ethics Minister Fr Simon Lokodo for further discussions after the evangelists complained that the policy, which requires them to undergo theological studies, is aimed at gagging the Pentecostal faith in the country.
But Mr Kabuleta, who has since become a pastor, said the meeting with the President was full of politics with nothing concrete for the pastors.
“No, it was politics. It was called by the President. Pastors before convened a meeting, they asked him to come and talk about it, they did on their own initiative, he foxed them. He actually sent a very low representative to come and tell them he has no time, he’d tell them when he has time. Now of course when politicking is the main thing right now, then he convenes the meeting, he calls them and because they are let down by their leaders some of them came from Gulu and everywhere, I don’t know what they expected,” he said.
“I don’t know why people still expect any substance from this President. Okay, that’s me speaking politically. But I don’t know what they expected. Because I was seeing people walking from Lugogo to the bus park because they had fares just to and fro from their villages; Luweero, Wobulenzi and so on. And they had a complete raw deal because he was non-committal on the policy. The only thing he did is that he flagged it around and said I have finally found something that unites born again people because they don’t like this so we’ll talk about this when 2021 comes. In other words, if you agree to whatever it is that I want, then maybe a policy which he himself originated…” he added.
Mr Kabuleta accused the pastors of being naïve by thinking that the proposed Bill originates from Fr Lokodo.
“Now this is what disappoints me about the pastors. Now the pastors are being let down by their leaders who marketed this as something which is going to be beneficial to pastors and it was not. It was never meant to be. But it was beneficial to people like Robert Kayanja and a few people who had their kodak moments with the president and that’s what it was all about,” he said.
Mr Kabulet added that the Bill actually originates from State House.
“It’s not Lokodo. Lokodo is just a pawn in this chess game. He is not the originator of it. It comes straight from State House. Now in typical Machiavellian style, he originates it and the people who are opposed run to him for solace and then he plays them…”
He said the policy is intended to put religion under state control.
“There’s a part of it which is being marketed as education of pastors and so on and it’s part of the marketing. But if you’ve read the draft policy, it is actually an attempt to put religion, not just Pentecostalism but all religion under the armpits of government. So you’re going to have RDCs regulating how all religions conduct their services at the district. So there’s an RFBO board at the district which is led by RDC and has the CAO and has the DISOs, has the community officer and has only one representative from the religions, and all the religions,” he said.
“Now what that means is that all these are state appointees, governing religion. Now that’s for all the districts. Now at the top, the department of ethics and integrity is under the office of the president and they are the ones who come up with all these things. What they are doing is putting religion under the office of the president. Now that is obviously a step towards making him deity. It’s sacrilegious. The president has no business entering religion.”