It was a week of prayer and talking peace in the Busoga District of Bugiiri, when religious leaders from different faiths and political candidates from the neighboring Districts of Namayingo, Tororo, Busia and Iganga, all gathered at Hindoncha Primary school- Bugiiri to pray for peaceful and stable general elections. The prayer week started on Monday 1st February and ended on Friday 5th February 2016.
According to the organizer of the prayers, Pastor Mwandabi Fredrick, who was also a secretary to the reconciliation committee that arbitrated warring facts in Bugiiri after the 2011 elections, Bugiiri has been a hot spot area, that is why they came up with the idea of praying and dialoguing with politicians to avert any possibilities of further violence during the forth-coming elections.
Speaking at the close of the prayers on Friday, the District Khadhi of Iganga, Sheikh Sinani Muwanika urged religious leaders and candidates in all positions from Busoga region to be examples of peace during and after the electoral period.
Sheikh Muwanika who expressed concern over the chaos that happened during party primaries early in the year, urged the public not to have high expectations which might result into denying results if they did not turn out in their favor.
“Ugandans should accept whoever God will choose as a leader in all positions starting from LC1. Everyone should relax after voting and wait for the Electoral Commission to announce the results. If staying at the polling station will cause chaos and tense emotions, please go back home and wait for the official results on your televisions and radios,” he said.
The leader of opposition, Hon. Wafula Oguttu who was also present at the prayers said that it is an indicator that every is concerned about having peaceful and violent free elections when politicians, religious leaders and the locals from the community gather in large numbers to pray for peace.
“It is very important to talk about peace but we need to be responsible citizens who come out to do those things that will ensure that we actually have this peace and stability,” Oguttu said.
Other leaders who attended the prayers were Justice James Ogoola, Msgr. Charlse Kasiibante, the Vicar General of Kampala Arch Diocese also chair of the Inter-religious Council of Uganda (IRCU) board, Bishop of Bukedi Biocese, Samuel Egessa, who is also the chair of IRCU’s Eastern Uganda Peace and Stability Forum, Dr. Dick Odur, a representative from the National Consultative Forum (NCF), also the Vice Chairperson of Bidandi Ssali’s People’s Progressive Party, and the Bugiiri RDC, Margret Mwanaweiza.
“We are all brothers and sisters and should project that in the electiions. Political orientation should never divide us. Voting does not cause violence, we should hav a peaceful attitude as we engage in these forth-coming elections,” Msgr. Kasiibante said.
Justice Ogoola also called upon the public to carry forward the symbol of harmony brought by the Pope when he visited the Country in November. He noted that the Pope ushered in the first political handshake after a long time of some politicians not crossing paths, and also left behind seven trees of unity which have been planted in several parts of the country ever since.