By Naboth Isaac Niwagaba
The outspoken Priest of Kitanga Parish in the Kabale Diocese Rev. Fr. Gaetano has trashed Minister of Internal Affairs Gen. Kahinda Otafiire’s statement in which the Minister said that Poor people would not go to heaven.
Otafiire who was last week addressing a cross-section of local leaders and residents at Manafwa district headquarters said that poor people were a liability to God and the Government.
“I am neither a pastor nor a reverend, but I can assure you that the poor will never step in heaven,” Otafiire said, adding that it was the poor, who were ever grumbling against God and when they appear before Him, they would complain why God denied their earthly possessions.
“It’s very difficult to administer poor people,” Kahinda said, arguing that while the rich could afford everything, the poor easily succumbed to the temptation to sin in their quest for what they did not have.
However, Fr. Gaetano who is also the Chairperson of the Interreligious Council of Uganda – I.R.C.U, Kigezi Region has described Otafiire’s words as “reckless” and “blasphemous”
“I would like to remind Minister Kahinda Otafiire that it’s Government thieves who will go to hell, not the poor,” said Fr. Gaetano
While quoting the Biblical story of Lazarus and the rich man as written in Chapter 16 of the gospel according to St.Luke, Fr. Gaetano told Otafiire that “the majority of the rich people’s destination is hell,” while the poor may have their place secured in heaven, as explained by Prophet Abraham in Luke 16:25.
The priest also referred Otafiire to Mathew 19:24, where Jesus Christ told his disciples that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Fr. Gaetano further said that Otafiire’s words were a mockery of Ugandans who had been reduced to poverty by a corrupt regime.
“Who has made Ugandans poor? Isn’t it the Corruption in the NRM Government where Otafiire is a top official? He should actually apologize to both God and Ugandans for his reckless and blasphemous statements,” said Fr. Gaetano.
In the first half of 2021, Finance Ministry reported that 28 % of Ugandans were living in poverty, while 39% were still in the subsistence economy ( earning from hand to mouth).
A 2018 report by Charity organization Oxfam International, indicated that in Uganda, the rich had grown richer while the poor grew poorer in the last two decades, despite the overall economic growth.
Oxfam International reported that 10 percent of the richest people in Uganda enjoyed over one-third (37.5%) of the National income, while the poorest 10 percent of Ugandans claimed a meager 2.5 percent.
The report further indicated that the portion of the income held by the 10 percent poorest Ugandans was declining at the same rate as that at which the income held by the 10 percent richest Ugandans was increasing.