Ugandans marked Easter Sunday 2021 like no other when Kampala’s Catholic Archbishop, Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, was found unexpectedly dead on Saturday morning. His Easter sermon, which had already been prepared, was read for him by Monsignor Charles Kasibante, who stood up for the prelate who had suddenly but permanently gone.
In his sermon, the dead bishop pleaded with the state authorities, either the “many “Release juveniles” detained or brought to justice without trial, as the Constitution provides. The dead man’s sermon read in part: “Let us come together and soberly consider the causes of the unrest and grievances of our young people, and promote lasting solutions to the problems they pose for the good of society.”
While the late Catholic prelate excelled as the voice of the lowly, those who looked up to him need not wait for a replacement. His Anglican counterpart, Dr. Stephen Kaziimba, who was consecrated just a year ago, and is already actively speaking for the dispossessed. And while the late Lwanga was overtly political, addressing democracy and human rights issues, Kaziimba has been ceaselessly cracking down on economic injustices for over a year in office.
Kaziimba was considered Anglican Archbishop of Uganda enthroned as the country began Covid-19 lockdown. Until the recent easing of restrictions, he was just a “New Normal Shepherd” delivering all of his sermons via media.It is hard to remember an important sermon by Kaziimba that does not address the land issue of grasping.
With three quarters of Ugandans living directly off the land, land grabbing is definitely the right one. The most inhumane act committed by some of the powerful in the country.
Kaziimba is quite a tall man, but a humble one and a dedicated speaker. He keeps wondering that if he only has to lie down two meters by one meter at his height, why someone would scream for square miles of land to get his name and also drive out people who depend on it to survive . His late colleague Lwanga, in his posthumous sermon, clearly suggested the solution, calling for “lasting solutions to the problems that young people address for the good of society”.
The problem, the Kaziimba clearly keeping awake – seizing land – is denying access to the means of production for the majority. Of course, the government has good plans to modernize the economy so that the majority are no longer directly dependent on land and employed in industries and services.
However, this can be done in a country whose fertility is close to that of the world not to be realized quickly enough at the highest, with each woman bearing an average of seven children. Industrialization will take longer than the government’s plans due to injustice and inland crime. Agriculture, in which the country has a comparative advantage, is seen as a yield that increases only through more land opening instead of a higher yield per acre – thanks to poor cultivation methods.
Uganda is now probably more equipped with strategic minerals than previously assumed. Just recently, the government hired a foreign company to investigate minerals in the northeastern corner of the country, the Karamoja sub-region, for a fee of 20 million euros. It takes the government two full days to generate this total revenue.
Funds borrowed will take even longer to collect and repay with interest. But then, when the survey is nearing completion, land grabbers will acquire land titles in which the minerals are found, making it unaffordable for the government to compensate before mining can begin.
So mining would be the quickest way to push industrialization forward, it won’t take off, and the youth, whose unemployment figures are rising rapidly, are getting angrier. When it does get started, industrialization will be very costly due to the offsetting that would make industry uncompetitive. The government can do some magic to end the archbishops’ awkward sermons by stopping issuing titles that have minerals under public land. This is not a new proposal.
A few months ago, when the report of the Inspectorate of Government 2020 was published, a frustrated ethics minister, Rev. Simon Lokodo, spoke out bitterly against such title takeovers (understandably he comes from Karamoja ). Then the newly elected MPs from Karamoja also condemned land grabbing “by Kampala people”.
Instead of being annoyed by dead and living bishops, the government can listen to government officials!
< strong> Joachim Buwembo is a Kampala based journalist. Email: [Email protected]