YES, CHOOSING LEADERS IS GODLY BUSINESS TOO

By The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi, Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Uganda

The 2011 General Election, like the one’s in the recent past, have generated debate of various kinds, including whether it is ‘Christian’ to be involved in the election process.

Christians and non-Christians alike will be directly affected by the outcome of any election. This makes it mandatory for each one to participate in order to ensure that the electoral process is inclusive of all.

The fact that Ugandans have an opportunity to vote attests to the great strides we have made since we attained independence in October 1962.

We have seen power change by military means but we have also seen ascension to office by the peaceful means of the ballot.

Determining the destiny of our nation is the responsbility of every Ugandan of voting age. Abdicating that responsibility to a select few, is infact, dishonouring God, your nation and the values and principles that led Uganda to independence.

Remaining indifferent to your civic responsibility is, perhaps, the saddest affair of all. This nation is ours; and choosing to remain aloof is tantamount to betraying the future of your children and grandchildren.

It should not be taken lightly- this business of choosing leaders. Every Ugandan should take it upon himself to pray that God will indeed affirm His will for our nation. God’s will for this nation is that her people will peacefuly co-exist; that there will be growth and development, good health and economic prosperity.

Whereas the destiny of this nation is in God’s hands, we are his instruments. We therefore must decide on what kind of instruments we want to be. In the past, we were instruments of violence; we oppressed and segregated against each other on religious and tribal grounds. Now, we must choose to be instruments of tolerance and peace.

Peace is a fruit of the spirit of God. Peace is a value that transcends age, colour, gender, social backgrounds, ethnicity, and whatever other differences we may have. Love is the channel through which peace flows and when you love each other you cannot afford but to live in peace.

Each one of us must make it our responsibility to be not just a peacekeeper, but also a peacemaker. Our Lord declares, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.’ (Matthew 5:9)

Choose to be peacemakers where you could choose otherwise by choosing to vote peacefully. Peace begins with an individual and you are that individual.

We must not forget where we have come from. We must not forget what we desire to achieve as a nation; a country free of corruption, disease, civil strife, and perpetual poverty. Every Ugandan should be persuaded of this.  Every Ugandan should aspire for this. Our power lies in taking up our responsibility to vote. You have the key in voting the right people- men and women of peace.

Ultimately, the people may have good will, but the responsibility to ensure enabling factors for peace is with the leadership. Those seeking elective office can choose to be the orchestrators of violence or embody a violent free attitude towards election.

Experience has shown that the young people- who are the majority- end up being used as pawns in this quest for power. They forget that the violence they choose to engage in makes their quest for a brighter future slip further away. The time is now to rethink your strategies, young people.

Experience has also shown that many seeking office do so with selfish interests. Prayer is one way in which God will help us discern good from evil. Authority comes from God; we cannot all be leaders. Uganda is one body; we all play very important functions, but it is important that we appreciate that not all of us can be leaders at the same level or the same time. There can only be one President; one MP from one constituency, one LCV at a given time.

Will you choose a leader who will embody the value of unity for all Ugandans. Choose a leader who is exemplery in his or her ways. Choose a leader who listens to counsel. Above all, choose leaders who fear God.

Whatever your persuasion, it is imperative that you conduct yourself in a manner that promotes goodwill, and allows others to enjoy their basic human rights in a peaceful and violent free environment. We are bound to be emotional but we can be considerate knowing that next to you is a neighbour who is also created in the image of God. Care for him or her.

Our motto and our anthem declare strong allegiance to God. God knows our history and our future. We can depend on him to guide us through this election. But we must choose to be his ambassadors by choosing to be Christ-like. Let the coming election honour God by how we shall handle each other as Ugandans, whatever your calling may be.

Yes, voting is God’s business too. It is your duty to ensure that each of you plays your part in ensuring that the election is peaceful, transparent, safe, secure, and above all a true reflection of the will of the people.

May God guide us come Friday February 18th to responsibly determine the destiny of the Nation of Uganda.

May His peace cover our nation from East to West and from North to South. May He grant you wisdom and health to celebrate what He has in store for us.

Go and vote; God would have you do no less.

GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

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