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Gen Saleh’s promise, intended at hoodwinking religious leaders

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By Richard Akandwanaho

The Chairperson of Kigezi Interreligious council Rev Fr Gaetano Batanyenda has said that the 60 billion shillings promised to faith-based organisations in Uganda is a political move aimed at blindfolding religious leaders in order to rally support for President Museveni and his ruling NRM party.

On Wednesday this week, while addressing a group of Anglican Bishops at National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) headquarters in Kawanda, Wakiso District, Gen Caleb Akandwanaho (Salim Saleh), the coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) said that he had Shs60 billion budget for all the faith-based organisations in the country but awaits approval from the Finance ministry.

This was after the House of Bishops led by the Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba asked government to give them Shs50 billion to facilitate church projects across the country.

The Bishops were visiting the NARO offices in Kawanda to discuss OWC with Gen Saleh and other government officials. The church also asked for 37 tractors for all the dioceses across Uganda, 37 milling machines, protection and securing of church land.

Speaking during a press conference at Kitanga Catholic parish in Rukiga district, Fr Batanyenda who is also the Kitanga parish priest, questioned the motive of Gen Saleh’ promise wondering whether the funds were legally passed by responsible bodies or are part of Uganda’s budget for this financial year.

Fr Batanyenda also wondered why the government had not made the pronouncement on the funds before the demolition of Ndeeba church or before the political season. He said the government has always made such promises especially during election seasons to hoodwink and blindfold voters to support the ruling government.

 Fr Batanyenda asked religious leaders not to be misled by a section of people he described as ‘self seekers with empty promises’ but rather focus on sensitising and leading Christians to making right political decisions that will help in the development of their communities and the Country in general.