KAMPALA – The Inter-Religious Council of Uganda – IRCU has called upon Ugandans to avoid any acts of violence as the 2021 general elections draw closer.
The call was made during a one-day dialogue on Monday that was attended by various political and religious leaders from Kasese, Bundibugyo, and Kingdoms of Tooro and Bunyoro. The dialogue was held at Lisieux Guest Center in Nyabukara, Central Division, Fort Portal Tourism City.
Joshua Kitakule, IRCU Secretary General said that as religious leaders, they are much aware that a number of past general elections were characterized by violence cases which saw some people lose their lives while others sustained severe injuries.
Kitakule explained that as a religious body, they can not sit back and watch as the country goes into another general election, hence the call for peace, harmony and tolerance to those with dissenting views regardless of political party affiliations.
Saidat Kaganda, the Fort Portal West Division Councillor and member of the IRCU added that as religious leaders, they should also desist from engaging in partisan politics as a way of avoiding conflicts and violence.
For his part, retired Judge James Ogoola, the Chairperson of the Elders Forum Uganda, which is working closely with IRCU, said the concluded party primaries showed potential for violence outbreak or even death, a reason they are traversing the country preaching peace.
During the dialogue, a number of issues were raised concerning the willingness and readiness of Resident District Commissioners- RDCs, who are heads of district security committees, to avert violence.
In response, the Kabarole Deputy RDC, Festus Bandeeba, explained that they are ready to work with all stakeholders, including politicians, to ensure a peaceful election period.
Bandeeba said that if politicians cooperate with security agencies, there will be no cause for unrest. He gave an example of two presidential aspirants namely Joseph Kabuleta and Mugisha Muntu who he said were in different parts of Tooro but were never disrupted because they complied with security guidelines.
Kitakule said that after engaging with different groups of people in Uganda, they will table their findings before the stakeholders that include the Electoral Commission, the Police and the Judiciary so that the issues raised can be handled in time.