Although I am a Muslim, there are Pentecostal Pastors I enjoyed listening to, Pastor Martin Ssempa was one of those.
I loved his radical and uncompromising stance against immortality and injustice. When I was at Makerere University , it was Pastor Ssmpa’s radical talks that used to attract me to the Friday evening sermons that used to take place by the poolside (I forget the name of the program)
However, when political injustices apexed, Partor Martin Ssempa went conspicuously mute, its only yesterday when I was reminded that he is still present with his attacks on #HEBobiWine over the Tuliambal Engule song. I find it very hypocritical and embarrassingly so, to hear him attack a man on whom all forms of injustices and despicable abuses, even of basics human rights have been meted including denying him to practice a profession that feeds his children. I find this not only repugnant to basic reason but also hypocritical and embarrassing to the respected man of God.
Whereas i believe that the Tuliyambala Engule song has origin from the Church, the HEBobiWine’s own version depicts the real situation, life and desire of Ugandans as it’s now.
I also want think that God is the head of the church and that head of church wants his people to do good. What is therefore wrong with a person using the song of God to ask people into goodness. I also know a number of countries whose national anthems were formerly church songs.
Even SADC, a regional body uses a church song as its anthem. But most importantly if priests, sheikhs, pastors, Rev. fathers etc are engaged in politics what is so wrong or so blasphemous to use church music to ask Godds people to do good?
Instead of attacking Bobi Wine who has been a subject of injustice, wouldn’t it have been morally good for the pastor to attack the corrupt, the unjust, the oppressor, dictator, the intransigents, the sinner, the immoral whose address and identity the Pastor Ssempa knows very well.
Religions came to bring Justice, Peace and Morality, therefore, he, is more religious who stands up against the dictator and the unjust regardless of the obvious danger which that would create.
Likewise one is less religious if s/he is silent about the oppressor action against the weak. If we really wish to judge between Bobi Wine and Pastor Ssempa on that ground, you will know who actually qualifies to defend religion.
Sociologists will confirm to you that the music that comes out of a society tells more rather than less about what is transpiring and felling of the members of that society.
If the society is happy artist will play or sing about happiness. If doubt , find out the kind of music that used to come out if Zaire (now D.R. Congo) before it was destabilised by some people.
If they are living under injustice, they will sing about it, if you doubt it, please listen to all the songs that were coming from the apartheid South Africa. If a country is engaged in liberation, songs will reflect the aspiration of liberation.
I have written before bout liberation politics, Tuliyambala Engule is evidence, and the examples are endless.
The music enjoying serious hits in Uganda now are all indicative of the situation we find ourselves in.
Even ordinary love songs like Kyarenga have been given political connotations. Can’t Pastor Ssempa see this?
Thirdly, Pastor Martin Sempa being a celebrated man of God, ought to see the obvious sign of hopelessness in our society e.g booming entertainment industry, booming betting activities, booming alcoholic sector, increased misuse of drugs, multitudes of people hoping for miracle wealth, miracle visas, miracle marriage, miracle healing, miracle political change and miracle everything.
He is also one of those fine counsellors I know of. Therefore he knows with figure accuracy the depth and magnitude of the problem we are in as a country.
The tragedy however, is that in this country people have learnt the art of survival, playing safe and not antagonising the dictator and only finding relevancy and expertise on peripheral issues while avoiding to speak out on fundamental issues that affect society.
Lastly, I find Pastor Martin Sempa among the category which Karl Marx defined as “Regime Prophets”.
According to Karl Marx, regime prophets are those individuals who will ordinary criticise the regime for its excesses, injustice and bad tendencies; but they do this only for purposes of filling the position of created and artificial opposition to the regime but when the regime is genuinely cornered the regime prophet will find a way to white wash the regime in some way.
They will even try to state that although the regime is bad, they are better off with its excess tendencies than trusting the not yet tested opponents of the regime.
There is no president in the history of Uganda who has masters the art of creating regime prophets like Mr. Museveni.
In this context, we have many regime prophets but Andrew Mwenda presents the best illustration although many are yet to be exposed especially as the pressure is continuing to be piled on the regime. I don’t know if Pastor martin Ssempa wants to be in that category.
The writer is an activist from Tororo Municipality