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Why Pope Francis will enjoy being in Uganda than Kenya

By Alexander Opicho | November 3rd 2015

Uganda and Kenya are only some days shy to the important visit by Pope Francis. Francis now the current Pope of the Catholic Church and political leader of the city state of Vatican will for the first time visit Eastern Africa and in fact Africa  since his inception as the Vatican pontiff. All eyes are on the Pope Visting Africa, a continent in which most of the Christians and Catholics are found. He will visit Kenya first then proceed to Uganda. A trip to which most analysts have already pointed out that Pope will at most enjoy natural and human environment in Uganda than he will have in Kenya.

And of course yes, the Pope will first land in Nairobi; he will find it chilly and cloudy in the climatic moods of El Niño. The security will be already tightened up, condemning somber Kenyans into the low spirit of unwilled self-discipline. The street children will be caged away into oblivion, a sharp contradiction to the cardinal Christian value of  leaving the children to come to the Christian source of love and as well as a contrast to the Jesuit consciousness of the Pope. In Uganda the Pope will land at Entebbe international airport, on the shores of Lake Victoria, the climate here is warm and lively in the scenic beauties of the hills of central Uganda. Obviously the Pope will enjoy looking at Lake Victoria while standing on the crest of Namirembe hills within the precincts of royal palace of the kabaka of Buganda.

Kenyans will receive the Pope in their categorical upper class attires, those for the powwow with the Pope will be in deep blue suits and other aristocratic outfits. The masses will come out in their diverse  efforts , not forgetting the city girls that will be in their sleeveless tops and micro mini-skirts leaving sooner the upper parts of their hind limps to the sympathy of the biting chills of Nairobi. Contrastingly, Ugandans are cultured in a manner that when they are receiving visitors, they all dress decently, men in kanzus and ladies in long dresses. The slender, brown, tall and commandingly beautiful Ugandan ladies from  western and central Uganda will salute the Pope by kneeling deep into the ground, a valuable hospitality which Pope Francis will never get anywhere in Kenya. Other than overt commercialism on the eyes of those in the gallery toting at the Pope, maybe by then in the company of President Uhuru Kenya and his deputy William Ruto fully oblivious to diplomatic implications of the ICC engagement.

Pope Francis is a very swift intellectual of Jesuit school of thought, humanist and an overt revolutionary. He is for the world without; poverty, hatred, illiteracy, tribalism, avarice, pollution, human rights violation, brutality and social exclusion. Unfortunately, it is the sad reality that the above listed vices that Pope Francis hates are now the palpable hallmarks of Kenya’s public life.

Politics in Kenya is the domain of non intellectuals. Money, family legacy and corruption have historically worked in combination to cull out thoughtful people from the realms of Kenya’s political socialization. And funny enough, it is this self-congratulatory Kenyan political class that will obviously elbow away the clergy and the religious societies so that they usurp the opportunity with the Pope for the purpose of selfish publicity. Whereas, Uganda will probably have an opposite experience; President Museven is a seasoned intellectual who can have dialogue with the Pope from any perspective, whether literature or ideology.

Chances of the Pope visting the shrines of Uganda martyrs are so high. This is where the Pope and the people of Uganda will feel the true history of the Catholic Church in Uganda. In Kenya, different things have already began unfolding. Some look like the phantasmagoria narrated by Irving Wallace in his novel the Miracle, which fantasised apparition of the virgin Mary in the cave or the grotto within the suburbs of Paris; in this juncture, I am referring to the recent media coverage of the effigy of virgin Mary appearing in the rocks at Makueni-what a shrewd ploy.

The fair approach in Kenya to be contrary to the political tradition is not to have those that are alive to possess the Pope. They need to include all those that have died for the Catholic Church. Like the family of Cardinal Maurice Otunga in Bungoma and Ndingi Mwana Anzeki in Ukambani. If the Pope will only be taken to a village church in Nyeri for a morning service, then this will be tribal chauvinism but not catholic consciousness of the people of Kenya.

Recent and common place terror attacks in Kenya by the Muslim terrorist wing, the Al-shabaab is likely to have the Muslim community excluded from the ceremony of Pope’s visit in Kenya. A blame that squarely lies on the shoulders of the religious leaders of Islam in Kenya. They have not been actively intellectualising their youths and religious members, but instead they have degenerated into radicalising the youths for the vicious purpose of recruiting them into terrorist networks. These must be the sorriest efforts of Islam in Kenya.

In Uganda, Islam is different. All Muslims in Uganda are able to communicate in English. They are patriotic and very scholarly. The level of their Islamic scholarship is admirable. They will engage the Pope at a very informed level and perhaps give the Pope a copy of Bad Muslim, Good Muslim, by Mahmood Mamdani, a Muslim and a top social scientist at Makerere University.

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