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By Isaac Wandubile

This Saturday afternoon, hundreds of mourners have verbally attacked diehard Museveni supporter Balaam Barugahare who had joined them for the tribute-paying session in honor of Revival Church Kawaala’s Pastor Yiga Abizaayo. The charged mourners descended on the hapless Balaam after his fellow music promoter Abbitex aka Abbey Musinguzi incited them by accusing the NRM government, which Balaam fanatically supports, of causing his death.



“He was a good man who has been killed by Museveni’s government which my dear brother over there Balaam supports. What was wrong with Pastor Yiga giving his views about COVID19? He never said there is no Coronavirus. He only said it’s a disease like any other which was okay because that was his view but instead Balaam’s government put him in prison, an experience after which his life deteriorated leading to his death,” Abbitex said prompting the crowd to begin hurling insults at Balaam. Abbitex added that it was obvious to even a child because in his view, Yiga would have lived longer if the Museveni government hadn’t exposed him to the bad jail conditions.

Abbitex incited the gathering to begin demanding that Balaam can only address them, eulogizing Yiga, after publicly apologizing on behalf of the government since there was no other ruling party official at the event to do the needful. Yiga’s family and other organizing committee members were seemingly uncomfortable with chaotic Abbitex’s inflammatory language which is why his speech was cut short and his microphone switched off. The MC called for a musical interlude as the ruble-rousing Abbitex was led back to his seat.


Next on the microphone was Balaam, who having correctly read the angry mood of the audience, immediately went on his knees saying he was apologizing on behalf of the Museveni government (for causing Yiga’s death) as Abbitex had demanded. Far from appeasing those present, Balaam’s apology only inspired the crowd to make more demands on him including being required to denounce Gen Museveni and declare support for Bobi Wine Kyagulanyi Sentamu who seemed to be the man majority mourners supported (actually they kept demanding that the man from Magere comes and address them too).

But Abbitex’s inflammatory words aimed at demonizing Gen Museveni’s government weren’t his alone. Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, who grew up as a struggling poor boy in the same Kawaala village of Abizzayo’s days, had earlier on addressed mourners and equally condemned the NRM government for “accelerating” Yiga’s death. He demanded that Ugandans learn from the circumstances of Yiga’s death and demand that the government of Gen Museveni begins to respect freedom of speech and expression as enshrined in Article 29 of the Constitution.



“Ebigambo tebitta [words don’t kill]. Why have Pastor Yiga caged simply because he has used his mouth to say what he thinks about Coronavirus? He doesn’t have to be right in what he says because the Constitution protects his right to speak anything even when he is wrong in what he says. This business of imprisoning people in their country simply because someone said something must end because we are a free country,” Lukwago said refusing to rule out the possibility that the very popular preacher’s health must have deteriorated during his jail ordeal. He also veiledly castigated Ps Jackson Senyonga (without mentioning his name directly) for talking ill of a dead man who doesn’t have any chance anymore to defend himself.

The Lord Mayor, who mourners showed plenty of love with spontaneous chants of Omuloodi Waali, also called on government to reflect on the positive impact Yiga has had on humanity in his short life to prevail on their Minister Simon Lokodo to abandon his proposed law requiring all pastors to be theology graduates and formally learned men. “Pastor Yiga has showed to us that you don’t need to have a degree to become a pastor and do great things for humanity. Just think about all these young people he mentored; Madina Bibuuza and others were all the outcome of his church ministry and love for music,” said Lukwago who was Yiga’s village mate in Kawaala for many years. Presidential aspirant Henry Tumukunde was also there and addressed mourners though he missed the opportunity to impress them more by choosing to speak in English through an interpreter which many of them didn’t like.

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