Monday, 3 November 2014
MUSEVENI'S STATEMENT ABOUT INVITING THE POPE TO UGANDA.
H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
President of the Republic of Uganda
The visit of His Holiness the Pope to Uganda in 2015
1st November, 2014
Why do the newspapers and, I imagine, the radios and Televisions (TVs) in Uganda like to be inaccurate, mendacious and speculative in their reporting? Why do you not insist on proven facts before you air or you put in print any news item? In respect of the possible visit to Uganda by His Holiness the Pope in 2015 in order to celebrate with us the 50th anniversary of the canonization of the Uganda Martyrs in 1964, the following are the facts:
On the 26th of August, 2014, I wrote a letter to His Holiness the Pope inviting him to visit Uganda in 2015 for the reasons stated above. There had also been some earlier communications about the same issue that I would not like to go into here.
On the recent occasion when I visited His Holiness, my first point was to reiterate my invitation for him to visit Uganda in 2015 for the purpose stated above.
I also brought up other points that I would not like to go into here as well, because our meeting was private and not a public rally.
On the point of visiting Uganda, he answered that he is going to Africa next year and may include Uganda in the visit.
However, the final itinerary had not been made. As I was leaving, he said, with his characteristic humility, that I should pray for him so that he is able to visit Uganda. I said that, not only would I pray for him, but that, I would ask all Ugandans to pray for him and for the visit.
Later on, when I met Cardinal Paralin, the Secretary of State, he reflected, in his remarks, that two Popes have visited Uganda (in 1969 and 1993) before but that Uganda is the land of the martyrs.
Therefore, five things are clear:
Number one, I have, on behalf of Uganda, invited His Holiness Pope Francis to visit Uganda so as to celebrate with us the 50th canonization of the Uganda Martyrs in 1964.
Secondly, I was informed that definitely the Pope will visit Africa next year because he has already visited some other parts of the world (Asia, the Middle East, Albania, etc., etc.) but not Africa yet.
Thirdly, that, however, the detailed programme of his African visit is not yet made or concluded.
Fourthly, that Uganda may be included and His Holiness asked me to pray for him so that he visits Uganda. I am going to start praying about it and I ask all of you to pray for His Holiness to visit Uganda.
Fifthly, I pointed out to the Secretary of State that although two previous Popes have visited Uganda before, Uganda is unique by being the land of the African Martyrs and also, apparently, the point of the greatest concentration of saints; moreover, these martyrs are not regarded as mere Ugandan. As you normally witness on the 3rd of June, Martyrs Day, Africans come from Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo DR, Malawi, Nigeria, South Sudan, Cameroon, etc. etc. The martyrs are, therefore, not merely Ugandan; they are African and International.
Therefore, dear inaccurate press of Uganda, those are the facts on the subject of His Holiness’s possible visit to Uganda next year 2015.
Yoweri K. Museveni (Gen. rtd)
P R E S I D E N T