Calls for presidential term limits have led to death threats against a Ugandan bishop.
In a sermon delivered on Easter Sunday at St Stephen’s Church in Kisugu, the Assistant Bishop of Kampala, Dr. Zac Niringiye said he was stepping down from office to campaign for the restoration of presidential term limits in Uganda’s constitution. In 2005 the Uganda’s constitution was altered, removing the two term limit, effectively allowing President Yoweri Muzeveni to remain in office.
Dr. Niringiye stated his life had been threatened after he began campaigning for regime change. “I hear security forces are plotting against me but this is part of God’s ministry. Many people are asking whether I am not afraid of what I am going into but I don’t fear death,” the bishop said.
“I am saying restore term limits,” the bishop said, according to local press reports. “We are also saying Mzee finish well and retire well.”
Dr. Niringiye’s call was echoed by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kampala, Dr. Cyprian Lwanga in an Easter Sunday sermon. “The biggest gift the President can give Ugandans is the smooth transfer of power when his term of office is over,” Dr Lwanga said at Rubaga Cathedral.
The president should begin the transition process now, Dr Lwanga said, allowing a peaceful handover of power. The recent crackdown on opposition leaders did not bode well, the archbishop noted. “How can [the police] mercilessly flog the very people who pay taxes that is then used to pay your salaries.”
Speaking to a 5 April 2012 press conference to deliver the Uganda Christian Council’s Easter message, Archbishop Henry Orombi was pressed to speak on the political situation in Uganda. Last month the government banned “Activists for Change” a pro-democracy group for sedition, threatening imprisonment for its members or for disseminating its literature.
Archbishop Orombi told reporters the confrontation between the government and the opposition was harming Uganda, and urged dialogue to resolve the disputes. Asked if he supported Dr. Niringiye’s campaign, the archbishop declined to be drawn, saying “he doesn’t need permission from me.”
However, Archbishop Orombi added that “if a bishop’s conviction takes him that far” into political opposition to the government, “and I don’t want infringe upon his freedom if that is what God is wanting him to do.”