UGANDA AT ELECTION TIME: EMBRACE PEACE, RESPECT FOR HUMAN LIFE AND DIALOGUE Uganda is in high spirit as the citizens prepare to exercise their constitutional mandate to elect the 10th president of the country since 1962 when Uganda gained its independence, with the incumbent president 34 years in power and seeking for reelection. In the past few days there have been unrest resulting from the arrest of the popular opposition leader which led to massive demonstrations and subsequent blood shed. I must say there is a threat to peace as indicated by the evident tension. It is true that the citizens have a right to demonstration, to express their dissatisfaction and this right needs to be protected. However, it must be lawful and peaceful so that it is within the coverage of the law. It would also be good for everyone to be responsible enough and play their roles to avoid occurance of such a demonstration. This therfore, calls for transparency, freedom of all, implementing the laws guiding the electoral process with equity, leveling the ground for all. The commission must keep on civic education for the masses and candidates so that people are reminded of their roles in this process. The experience of violence, brutality, shootings… which have already been experienced does not yield positive results. It is not time to apportion blames now, it is not time to ask who is right or wrong, it is time to embrace proper democracy by levelling the ground for all, embracing peace and dialogue if we are to claim the praises of Winston Churchill, that „Uganda the Pearl of Africa” Let us break the cycle of violence and restore sanity in our country. There is no amount of reasoning that qualifies killings as right, No! We need credible election that is not marred with bloodshed. There is surely no benefit in violence, it simply reduces us to warriors. When things go wrong, we need a certain amount of dialogue with an attitude of openess and honesty and on a common, sincere and courageous pursuit of truth However, the above can only be achieved ones there is respect for human person and their dignity as well as laws that protect them (John Paul II). The barrel of the gun cannot be an answer ones the human person is valued and put at the centre. I must appreciate media work as we embrace scientific processes in many things including scientific campaigns because of Covid19. I ask myself, how sincere is this process? Well, media is one of the best tool we have now when used well. It is also a time bomb when used badly. It must therefore, be an instrument to educate the spirit of peace, justice and respect of human rights. Let media not be an avenue of throwing insults, promoting divisions, violence… I , love to see a part of me in the person next to me and that is why I embrace the way of peace and dialogue, I hate police brutality that leads to bloodshed. Responsibility to respect of the law is a call to all. Robert Schuman, a christian democrat ones said, „…peace cannot be safeguarded without making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it” Uganda will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity. Take on your responsibility.
THE CHURCH BUILDING AS SYMBOL OF FAITH On the occasion of the golden jubilee for Lira Diocese-Uganda, The diocese which was erected on the 12th July 1968 decided to embark on two major events. The first and major thing was the spiritual evaluation and deeper formation of Christians and the second was the visible physical sign as a mark of growth in faith and remembering the 50 years. As the pastoral agents took on the first part of spiritual formation, the Christians by sacrifice took on the refrabrishment which led to the enlargement and renovation the cathedral, a symbol of unity for Lira diocese. The cathedral is dedicated to the Uganda Martyrs and on the third of June every year, the cathedral celebrates the day of the patron Saint. As Covid19 ravaged the whole world, it slowed the renovation work at the cathedral and besides that the churches were closed for over seven months. It was until 1st of November 2020 that the government accepted opening of churches but with stringent measures and a limited number of 200. The Bishop has encouraged liturgical celebrations to continue more at the level of the Small Christian Community (SCC). However, with much joy, the cathedral Church although remaining a few parts to finish, was reopened and this brought a lot of joy for the Christians to see the fruit of the work of their hands, with support from different well wishers. This surely remains a great remembrance for the growth of faith in Lira diocese as they celebrate 50 years. Another project was launched to construct a Grotto to help enhance the faith of the Christians by promoting devotion to our Mother Mary. The Christians have embraced it and they have started raising funds. Congratulations to the Bishop of Lira Diocese, the Christians of Lira Diocese, friends and benefactors who worked towards building the Church of God. May the name of God be praised. Ks. Polycarp Opio Student, UKSW