Moral decay: Diagnosis of causes in Uganda urgent

Josue Okoth

Moral decay in Uganda has reached an alarming level. Almost every aspect of life is affected. The is a need for a proper diagnosis and solution. Even people in authority who talk hard, turn out to be corrupt in one way or another. We see a culture of hypocrisy creeping in. Attempts to render punishment, punitive or not, does not always rehabilitate the offender.

To punish the offender without room for hope, is a form of torture, which results in the hatred of both the offender and the offended, which often end up in revenge. We know many people in prison, convicted, but who are not guilty.

The freedom government gives us can be used for evil as well as good, but most often, we choose to use it for evil because we are not basically trained to do good. We have no conscience for doing good. Moral training is different from spiritual training because our spiritual nature is closer to the nature of God. Living a meaningful life is not about being rich, popular, highly educated or being perfect. Life is about being honest, being strong hearted, real, humble and able to reach out and touch the lives of others while holding gratitude in your heart.

Open any news media in Uganda and you will be greeted with headlines such as ‘Officer so and so accused of abusing office’. Many of these are Christians considering that Christians form more than 80 per cent of Uganda’s population. What has gone wrong with Christianity? It is poor initiation of Christianity to Ugandans which has gone wrong. People in authority want us to believe that it is the duty of parents and pastors to give instructions to children.

From quite early in life, children spend more time at school and may go for just a few hours in church. Monsignor Gerald Kalumba of Christ the King Parish in Kampala when asked to comment on why Ugandans don’t seek advice from religious leaders said “the level of faith among most Christians is not as deep and is ‘nominal’. He said, “Most Christians remain at primary one stage of faith just like counting from one to 10. They never grow to the stage where their faith is at a problem – solving stage”.
He said, “In the mainstream church, Christian learning stops at the catechism and confirmation stages when the christian is still a child”.

One time a reverend at a burial ceremony emotionally narrated about a ‘strong’ believer who even built a church, but later on married three women; he later joined Pentecostal Church and became a born-again Christian while maintaining his three wives. Christians have become lukewarm. They live a ‘comfortable spiritually’.

They are Christians of appearances – they are spiritually dead. Today there are many shades of Christianity and Christians move from one sect to another looking for a ‘comfortable’ one. Uganda like many African countries, has copied foreign cultures which have failed in those very foreign countries. In Europe today, societies/families have broken down. People live single life – everyone for themselves and ‘devil for us all’. Europe, when Christianity was strong, was very sociable. Our culture has been eroded. For instance, we no longer have culture of travelling to see our sick relatives, but will travel to bury them. We never bring roses to them when alive, but will bring lots and dump on their graves.

The government should take the responsibility for our moral status. It is in charge. School policy needs major overhaul. There was no justification for the government of the 1960s to have taken over management of Missionary schools.

The government feared competition, which was unfortunate because healthy competitions is progressive. The mainstream churches (Protestants and Catholics) should get back their schools. These schools were built for the purpose of developing Ugandans both spiritually and physically. Both must be developed together.

The schools have now become centres for distributing condoms and I know of one school renamed ‘maternity’ (Mat) because every girl who goes to this school, becomes pregnant.
If churches take back their schools, they will discipline both the teachers and students and some order will prevail. We do not need just religion or Christianity to be taught, it must be faith to be taught. I pray that you read and share this ideas with others. All long journeys start with one step.

Dr Okoth is a concerned citizen
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