The Church used Easter Day sermons to rally Ugandans to embrace the on-going nationwide registration for national identity cards but warned the government against using the information to pry into the privacy of its citizens.
The Archbishop of Kampala Archdiocese, Dr Cyprian Lwanga Kizito, in his Easter message yesterday said the government must assure Ugandans that the process is not aimed at interfering with their confidentiality.
“The ongoing issuance of national identity cards is a move in the right direction...,” Archbishop Lwanga said.
“However, the government should assure citizens that national identity cards are not aimed at interfering with their privacy,” he added.
The Internal Affairs Minister, Gen Aronda Nyakairima, said registration will help create a national reference data bank about citizens to benefit all sectors and government agencies.
Archbishop Lwanga also used the occasion to distance himself from claims by government informers that he and his counterpart, the Rev Stanley Ntagali, support Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi’s supposed presidential bid in 2016.
At All Saints Cathedral, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, the Rt Rev Ntagali, asked Ugandans to embrace the ID exercise but castigated the growing evils in the country which he blamed on secularism.
Listing evils such as nepotism, corruption, human trafficking, individual and tribal conflicts, the Archbishop urged Ugandans to turn to God.
“People are at war, they are troubled. We are seeing land grabbing, human trafficking and nepotism. The youths are empty (without Jesus),” Bishop Ntagali said.
Easter is one of the most important festivals on the Christian calendar.
On this day, believers celebrate Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who rose from the dead three days after he was crucified and buried in a tomb more than 2,000 years ago.
Meanwhile, the Assistant Bishop of Kampala, Bishop Hannington Mutebi, said every member of All Saints Cathedral will contribute Shs600,000 in a year for the construction of the new cathedral adjacent to the old one.
He said the decision was reached in the annual general meeting by church leaders last weekend.
Clergy laud Museveni on gay law, call for resilience
Several churches in eastern Uganda praised President Museveni in their Easter sermons for assenting to the anti-gays law in February.
The Bishop of Mbale Diocese, the Rt Rev Patrick Gidudu, said President Museveni made Ugandans proud by defying international pressure, including from several donors.
“His courage gives us hope against the forces of resistance. We know that this legislation will protect society and the youth from homosexuality which is abominable in Africa,” Bishop Gidudu said.
In Kapchorwa District, the Rt Rev Augustine Salimo, the Bishop of Sebei, encouraged Christians to embrace Jesus Christ since he defeated death.
“His resurrection demonstrates that he is more powerful than death, which is the most destructive force in the whole world. We just need to ask ourselves this Easter: Are we really in Christ? Have you been born again?” Bishop Salimo said.
In reference to the Anti-Homosexual Act, he also urged the government not to back down but to continue the right path pursued to protect values of Ugandans.
In Tororo District, Bishop Emmanuel Obbo, the Archbishop of Tororo Archdiocese, urged every citizen who supported the anti-homosexuality law to lay down greed, corruption and “put them to death and let generosity rise up within us and flow out in abundance”.
“In Christ, we have victory over dysfunctional relationships, bad habits, painful experiences, sexual temptation and devastating circumstances,” he said.
Pastor Andrew Mutengu of the Word of Faith Church, said: “The resurrection of Christ is the only hope for a country full of conflicts. Christ was victorious over sin and death. We too have to hope that we can be victorious over the same.”
Pastor Mutengu said Christ’s power could raise Ugandans from poverty, corruption, slavery, sickness and sectarianism, among other evils.
Roots for prayer
He urged Christians to pray for the nation, saying the anti-homosexuality law puts the country in danger after it triggered aid cut.
“We need to stand by the President in prayer to help our country stand without aid,” he said.
Wake Up Ministries Pastor Martin Nangoli asked leaders to deal with more pressing needs.
“Our dear President did us proud by signing the anti-gays Bill into law. So each of us must repent, seek God, strive for forgiveness and renew our spiritual lives to create peace for development,” Pr Nangoli said.
“Above all, we must know that any society that wants to grow with social values must protect the family. We must discard homosexuality to protect marriages,” he added.
Tighten spending bishop cautions govt
The Bishop of Namirembe Diocese, the Rt Rev Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira, has advised the government to use locally generated funds in a frugal way amidst aid cuts by some development countries over the anti-homosexuality law.
Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands have either withheld or re-routed aid, while the US is reviewing its their development assistance to Uganda over the law enacted in February.
The World Bank has deferred a decision on a $90 million (Shs223b) loan to strengthen the health sector, saying it needed to study if the legislation does not discriminate those its project intends to help.
Bishop Luwalira asked leaders in government to exercise honesty and trustworthiness in spending taxpayers’ money for the country’s benefit.
“Now that we have refused money from immoral people, we are moving on to take care of the people who were formerly catered for by the donors. Therefore, there is need to use the little money properly without stealing it,” he said.
The prelate’s remarks came on the day thousands of Ugandan thronged various places of worship to celebrate Easter, the commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Bishop Luwalira asked the public to put to death actions that frustrate their life such as cannibalism, domestic violence and murder, saying they stand in their way of freedom.
At Our Lady Of Africa Catholic Church, Mbuya, Fr Paulino Twesigye Mondo asked believers to desist from being taken up by earthly things and spare time for God’s work.
He also appealed to Christians to come out of the conviction of alcoholism equating it to being a “tomb”.
About corruption and embezzlement scandals in the country, Fr Twesigye advised the corrupt to seek repentance.
“Tell the Lord today that you were in the grave with Jesus but you are now back to life,” he said.
At St Luke Church in Ntinda, Rev Can Micheal Owino, warned Christians against biased thoughts and negativity.
He said biased thoughts are always based on unfounded beliefs that divide societies.
“You will always hear that Baganda or Japhadhola are bad people or the Banyankole are good people. Who said it? Let us be together. Had Thomas been with the other disciples when Jesus appeared to them, he would have not had the doubts,” he told Christians in his sermon.
At Victory Church, Ndeeba, Pr Anna Nsumba, asked believers to make personal evaluation of everything that they do.
“There is an increase in the level of crime in this country simply because people do [not] make personal assessment. I ask you to evaluate yourselves and consider what you did wrong and rectify it. This will help you move in the right path in your lives,” Pr Nsumba said.
Pr Nsumba also asked believers to persist in pursuing their good ideas in life which will lead to a breakthrough for the benefit of the country.
At Rubaga Miracle Centre, Pr Robert Kayanja urged Christians to embrace the gift of salvation to improve their lives amidst the rampant challenges.
“When someone gives you a gift, he or she expects you to receive it and use it. But in order for one to get the benefit, everything given to you demands a value addition,” Pr Kayanja said.