Iron sheets scandal, anti-gay Bill dominate Easter sermons

Rev Venerable Saul Masembe of  Mbaale Archeaconary  in  Mpigi  District leads Easter service. PHOTO/BRIAN ADAMS KESIIME

What you need to know:

  • The clergy urged Christians to turn to God to help them resist engaging in the vice.

The recently passed Anti-Homosexuality Bill and the iron sheets scandal dominated Easter sermons across the country, with the clergy chastising implicated ministers to return the building materials meant for Karamoja Sub-region.
The clergy also appealed to President Museveni to assent to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill as soon as possible.
During his Easter sermons to hundreds of congregants at Rubaga Cathedral yesterday, Kampala Archbishop Paul Ssemogerere said he was dismayed by the diversion of iron sheets and more so by Christians in government.
“We are embarrassed. On this day of Easter, everyone should tell the other that we are embarrassed. It is good that some people have apologised that what they did was sinful,” Archbishop Ssemogerere said.
Last week, Karamoja Affairs Minister Mary Goretti Kitutu and her brother were sent to Luzira on remand for allegedly selling the branded roofing materials.
Bishop Ssemogerere said corruption had become a cancer in the country that needs a concerted effort.

At Namirembe Cathedral, Bishop Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira, who was the main celebrant, urged the public to turn away from “the sin of corruption, nepotism and torture”. 
“Let us put an end to torture, corruption, nepotism and immorality that is being promoted by people in the west under the disguise of human rights. We must rise and stand for what the Bible teaches,” Bishop Luwalira said.
“Brethren, each year we seek and reflect on the message of resurrection. But how meaningful is Easter? Remember what was written in the gospel. Jesus’ suffering opened the gates of everlasting life,” he added.

In Kiyinda–Mityana Diocese, Dr Joseph Antony ZZiwa, the bishop, urged Christians to “drop” bad practices as they celebrate Easter.
“Take the example of murder, robbery, homosexuality and other vices, these should be dropped and we move forward as God’s people,” he said.
Bishop Gaddie Akanjuna of Kigezi Diocese said the government officials, who are accused of diverting iron sheets meant for Karamoja, must return them.
“They are selfish and they (officials) should return the iron sheets to the intended beneficiaries,” he said.
Bishop Reuben Kisembo of Ruwenzori Diocese, condemned all forms of corruption, which he said are rampant in the country.
He said the arrest of the Minister for Karamoja should be a lesson to other corrupt government officials.

“The law should not be applied selectively, all people involved in the iron sheets scandal should be charged as per the laws,” he said.
The South Ankole Bishop, Rt Rev Nathan Ahimbisibwe, called on political and civil leaders to intensify the fight against corruption and betrayal.
“As leaders, you should serve God and his people instead of betraying them through evil acts like corruption like Judas Iscariot because you will be held accountable before God,” he said.
The Katikkiro of Buganda Kingdom, Charles Peter Mayiga, while at Lubaga Church said the iron sheets scandal exposes how important the federal system is to the country. 
“We can’t reach middle-income status when the government agencies are full of corruption. That is why in Buganda, we want the federal system of governance,” Mr Mayiga said. 
“If Karamoja was in a federal system, iron sheets wouldn’t have developed legs to other people’s houses,” he added.  
Anti-Homosexuality Bill
At All Saints Cathedral in Kampala, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, the Most Rev Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu, commended the Ugandan legislators for exhibiting unity during the passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023.
“This was the first time I saw all MPs united despite their political affiliations, which is very good. My prayer is for the President to assent to it to become law,” he said.
Archbishop Kaziimba called on parents, especially men to take care of their children and nurture them into responsible citizens.
“Empower both boys and girls. We have well-trained women but going with men who are not trained enough which sometimes leads to domestic violence,” he said.
At the Holy Spirit Church in North Division, Mbarara City, Pastor Willy Tumwine, challenged Christians to guard against foreign cultures that could compromise their relationship with God.

The Archbishop of Mbarara, Lambert Bainomugisha, urged Christians to stop divisions based on religious sentiments and tribes.
He said the Catholic and Anglican churches in Mbarara had a joint Way of the Cross procession through Mbarara City Centre which should not only be seen on Good Friday but rather maintained.
“We are encouraged to spread the gospel of the Lord. On Good Friday, I was so happy, wondering how men of God and Christians came together to walk a long journey for the Way of the Cross, emulating what Jesus Christ did while carrying the Cross,” he said.
Bishop Robert Muhiirwa of Fort Portal Catholic Diocese appealed to parents, especially men who have abandoned their families to repent.
In Mbale, the Bishop of Mbale Diocese, Rt Rev John Wilson Nandaah asked Christians to desist from homosexuality and corruption. 

“During this Easter time, we should ask ourselves who will roll the stone of sickness, malice, corruption, poverty and homosexuality that are threatening our faith, culture, unity and economic progress,” he said while preaching at St Andrew’s Church in Mbale City on Easter Sunday. 
At Our Lady of Sorrows Cathedral, Kitovu, Masaka Diocesan Bishop Serverus Jjumba asked Christians to ensure proper use of the environment by conserving wetlands and all water sources.
“If we continue to destroy the environment, just know that our survival as human beings will also be threatened,” he warned.
He asked the leadership of Masaka City to continue lighting the city streets to boost the night economy.

Rev Saul Massembe, the deacon of Mbaale Parish in Mpigi District, urged Christians to use this time to pray for Uganda and get rid of homosexual practices 
“Let us all fight homosexuality since we all know our cultures and traditions, let us exchange our values with money,” he said.
At Namugongo Martyrs Shrine, at least five sessions of Holy Mass were conducted, with Christians filling the facility to capacity.
Fr Stephen Nkwangu, the parish priest of Uganda Martyrs Shrine asked the congregation to desist from committing sins such as practising witchcraft, being jealous and abusing one another. 
“Jesus died for our sins. We should base on this to ensure that we follow the teachings of the Bible and live a sin-free life. We should not be jealous of the achievements of our friends,” Fr Nkwangu said.

At Christ’s Cathedral Bugembe in Jinja City, Bishop Paul Moses Samson Naimanhye of Busoga Diocese, warned Christians against committing suicide.
“As we celebrate this Easter, let us not forget to face the challenges in our homes, and workplaces through prayers. Committing suicide is a sin and when you die, people will take your property including your wife or husband, prayers and faith should be your weapons to success,” the prelate advised.
Meanwhile, the retired Bishop of Soroti Church of Uganda Diocese, Bamrad Obaikol, called on Christians to advocate for behavioural change among boys to understand the value of family. He said the number of boys graduating from institutions has dropped compared to girls.
In Gulu, Fr David Okello Opiru from Holy Rosary Church warned Christians against deceitfulness, hatred and witchcraft.
“We deceive others, we betray others, we offend our neighbours, we continue to bear hatred for one another including practising superstition but the resurrection of Jesus should be a turning point in our lives to start a new life where we embrace the beauty of humanity,” he said.

At Tororo, the Archbishop of Tororo Archdiocese, Dr Emmanuel Obbo, asked Christians to develop a heart of forgiveness and love for others.
He said it is embarrassing to hear that a brother does not talk to a biological brother because of disagreement that they could have had one yet the bible puts emphasis on forgiving those who wrong you.
Monsignor Joseph Mugambi, the parish priest of Christ the King Church in Kampala, asked Christians to emulate what Jesus did and serve God.
“Serve God with all your heart so that you may have eternal life. Maintain our hope by keeping the commandments,” said.
At Watoto Church, the team leader Pastor Julius Rwotlonyo, said the cross gives Christians access to God, power in the blood of Jesus and resurrection.
“The great divine disruption was at the cross where there was a great purchase. At the cross, we have hope and that is the message of Easter. Death gave way to life through the cross. We had no hope before the cross, but now, we have hope,” he said

Compiled by Franklin Draku, Andrew Bagala, Jane Nafula, Damali Mukhaye, Lydia Felly Akullu, Anthony Wesaka, Priscilla Maloba, Asuman Musobya, Rajab Mukombozi, Perez Rumanzi, Joseph Omollo, Robert Muhereza, Emmanuel Arineitwe, Tobbias Jolly Owiny, Joanita Adong, Simon Peter Emwamu, Al Mahdi Ssenkabirwa, Richard Kyanjo, Denis Edema, Brian A Kesiime, Felix Ainebyoona, Julius Byamukama, Coslin Nakayiira, Elly Katahinga, Fred Wambede, Alex Ashaba & Joel Kaguta