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Researchers have criticized president Museveni government for hiding under Pentecostalism, gambling and leisure as a quick way to escape its responsibility of providing for the population and largely to the youth.
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have criticized president, Yoweri Museveni’s government for hiding under the Pentecostal
movement; gambling and leisure as a quick way escape from its responsibility of
providing for the population especially youths.
observe that the rate at which, the Pentecostal movement has been gaining grip
across Uganda’s population, especially among youth is extraordinary.
Bompani, a Senior Lecturer at University of Edinburgh describes Uganda as a new
religiously infected moral economy, with new religiously framed public action,
public morality and the moralisation of public debate.
In her latest research titled: “Religious economies:
Pentecostal-charismatic churches and the framing of a new moral order in
neoliberal Uganda,” Bompani
observes that Pentecostal churches have flourished and been protected by the
state under President Museveni’s government.
been free to worship, so they do not criticize the government at all. In fact,
they praise it!” she notes. Dr. Bompani says President Museveni has
integrated religion into public affairs, making particular religious groups an
ally to the government and mediators between state and society.
equally true that Pentecostal Charismatic churches gained from the alliance
with Museveni not only in terms of protection, safety and opportunities to
express themselves in the public space, but also in terms of power and
money-making possibilities that allowed churches to become centers of economic
accumulation and navigating political networks for gaining more public
visibility and getting access to several centers of power,” Dr. Bompani notes.
Jean Barya, a law don at Makerere University, says the state has been running
away from its responsibility forcing the church to provide understand where
ordinarily government should.
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He observes that the state has been promoting Pentecostalism leisure and sports as well as gambling as
immediate solutions to youth challenges.
of the youth and the rise of the answers that we have to the problems not only
of society but mainly of youth has been three. We have Pentecostalism as an
answer, we have leisure, sports and music and gambling,” Prof. Barya argues.
that; “These three things are being promoted by the state as an alternative to
state failure to provide rights and social services and therefore what is sold
to the people is ideology or propaganda.”
According to Barya, the ideology of the Pentecostal churches
is that they are solutions to all societal problems. “All the
problems in the world are solved by a pastor. And the state is very happy to
promote that as an answer. I hope we can do research, how many Pentecostal
churches we have in Uganda and how many people adhere to them. I am sure it’s
more 50 per cent of the population,” Prof. Barya.
Prof. Barya contends that art; leisure, sports and music are
an additional answer, first as a form of employment but also as a way of
dealing with social problems.
"Because every day you are watching Manchester United,
Arsenal and sometimes you fight over them. Ebivulu (concerts) all the time. All
of dubious quality but they are a good escape route for the youth,” he observed.
He argues that gambling is the biggest job for youth in
Uganda. “From Kampala to the smallest village. These have been used by the
state making itself not responsible for the rights and interests of the people
but also mainly for the youth,” he said.