As debate on Bobi Wine’s controversial song ‘Tuliyambala Engule’ deepens, Bishop Zac Niringiye has come out to downplay the concerns raised by some Pentecostal pastors who criticized the singer for using a religious song for political gain.
The song which carries political innuendos was released last month and speaks to the ills like corruption, land grabbing, oppression and others that Ugandans are currently grappling with. It also sells hope that once the struggle is over, the situation will change for the better and that Ugandans will wear a ‘crown’.
However, shortly after Bobi Wine had released it, a section of pastors including Pastor Martin Ssempa and Joseph Serwadda came out to criticize Wine for distorting the message carried in the original song. They accuse him of portraying himself as a Messiah and a Uganda led by him as Jerusalem, which to them is wrong.
“Go and warn that Member of Parliament who is using the song. Tell him don’t use God’s property. Tell him to stop using God’s property in blasphemous situations like this one,” Pastor Serwadda of Victory Church said in a recent press interview.
Pastor Martin Ssempa of Makerere Community Church on his part vowed to take legal action against Bobi Wine. He also said he would take the matter to the communications regulator, UCC, so that the song is banned.
But in defence, the singer who is also MP for Kyadondo East says the song is supposed re-emphasise confidence in the minds and hearts of all Ugandans. “To make them know that the times we are going through are not easy but at the end of this struggle, after we win, we shall wear the victor’s crown,” he said.
Bishop Zac Niringiye who is the latest cleric to comment on the issue has sided with Bobi Wine saying he is surprised by the criticism towards Bobi Wine by the pastors.
“When I first listened to this song, it struck chords within my faith and longing for a new Uganda. I have been surprised at pastors who have recently distanced themselves from the song, because of its political message,” Niringiye who is known to be highly opinionated on Uganda’s political and social affairs wrote on his Facebook page.
He cited the famous case of American civil rights activist, Martin Luther King who used religious songs in his campaigns against the violation of the rights of blacks in America.
“I wonder though, what these pastors would say about Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement, whose progress was anchored in Christian songs, with a clear message of hope for freedom and dignity. (And I bet they sometimes refer to Martin Luther King Jr in their sermons),” Bishop Zac added.
He said the hope of Martin Luther and his movement was inspired by faith and their songs everywhere, propelled them in their journey to freedom from slavery and oppression.
“Take the music away from the civil rights struggle in America, and I don’t know what you will be left with,”.
Infact, some analysts including lawyers have said that the onus is on the aggrieved pastors to prove their ownership of the song yet, irronically, it was derived from another (English) song which has since been reproduced several times.
Bishop Zac says that; “When pastors deny the efficacy of faith-inspired music, they undermine their credibility and the role that faith must play in fighting for a Uganda that’s free of oppression”.