Vocal Ugandan Catholic Church cleric Rev Fr Gaetano Batanyenda says the commercialization of Uganda’s politics has reached an alarming extent at which Jesus would lose an election if he didn’t pump money into it.
Acts of voter bribery were reported in the recently held ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) primaries, with aspirants openly distributing cash to voters, some through local council leaders and their agents.
The cost of running political campaigns has over the years increased, with politicians injecting hundreds of millions of Shillings in their bids for elective office.
Presidential campaigns stretch between tens and hundreds of billions, parliamentary ones into hundreds of millions while local council aspirants spend tens of millions during election seasons.
It is such a trend that is worrying Fr Batanyenda of the Kitanga Catholic Parish in Kabale Diocese, and making him believe that Jesus would easily be floored by any wealthy Ugandan politician.
With Jesus only betrayed by Judas Iscariot over a bribe worth 30 silver coins, Batanyenda apparently thinks most Ugandan politicians would beat such an inducement.
According to Batanyenda, who leads the Interreligious Council of Uganda (IRCU) chapter in Kigezi Region, even if the poor may have good intentions, winning electoral office will remain difficult.
“Whatever the case, the poor can never defeat the rich in Uganda even if he or she has all the capabilities,” Fr Batanyenda said at the weekend.
“Even if Jesus Christ chose to contest with a rich Ugandan, he would lose. Money has destroyed the election processes in Uganda,”
The outspoken parish priest urged Ugandans “to choose capable leaders who will steer their communities to development.”
“My message to the electorate is that they should eat the money they bring to you and choose leaders with capabilities.”