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Religious leaders speak out on Golden Jubilee

By Independent Reporters

Bishop Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira, Bishop Namirembe Diocese

There are so many good things that have been done over the last 50 years. But in the same vein, there are so many bad things that have equally happened because to err is human.

“We should ask God for mercy to guide us (and) loving one another should be the key in the next 50 years.” Luwalira added that Ugandans should teach their children to love their country by showing them examples of those who have worked tirelessly over the last 50 years.

Luwalira also urged Ugandans to practice restraint if they are to successfully win the battle against the HIV/AIDS epidemic which has reportedly made resurgence.  For the congregation to understand where the country has come from and where it is, the service was punctuated with a historical perspective where key dates of Uganda’s journey starting first from 1894, when Uganda officially became a British protectorate for close to 70 years, and then 50 years of independence.

Retired Archbishop Livingstone Nkoyoyo

Uganda’s golden jubilee celebrations are about thanks giving since Uganda’s journey has been a long and tedious one, full of ups and downs.  Nkoyoyo urged politicians to desist from criticising church leaders whenever they comment on contentious issues affecting the country because, they too, just like government officials are in service and are part of Uganda. He said the next 50 years are going to require even more team spirit and teamwork.  He thanked the government for facilitating the return of thousands of Ugandans who had fled into exile in the 1970s and 1980s. He also thanked Ugandans in the Diaspora for their annual remittances; and the government for enabling foreign investments.  Although he decried poverty, he also criticized laziness.  Nkoyoyo also decried the loss of traditional values, native languages, and sense of dress.

Joshua Kitakule, Interreligious Council of Uganda general secretary

Renewing of faith should be the most important objective of the jubilee celebrations since there are so many things in Uganda which need to change.  “Let us always remember that it takes an individual to change others,” he said.  “For Uganda to change for the better, we as individuals must change for the better,’ Kitakule said.  In a speech read to the congregation by the Attorney General, Peter Nyombi, President Museveni said the true meaning of independence should be a reflection of all Ugandans.

Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, Archbishop of Kampala Diocese

Urged the government to release all political prisoners as a gesture of reconciliation and unity. “Let’s do our best to make Uganda a better nation through forgiveness and justice, treat others as human beings,” he said.  He said that the nation has to work together and politicians need to cultivate a culture of mutual love with political parties working together. “Let us use this occasion to seek God, bridge the gap between the poor and the rich, transform our minds and work together to save the nation from poverty, sickness, unemployment, domestic violence and all sorts affecting us as a nation,” he added.

Pastor Serwadda, Presiding Apostle, Born Again Fellowship

‘‘If it were up to me I would love to have all the prisoners released and given a fresh start to life,’’ said Dr. Serwadda. To create a strong foundation for promoting moral values Serwadda advised parliament to expedite the process of passing the anti-pornography Bill and asked that all forms of immorality be made criminal offences in the country. He said he has noticed that this country is slowly being swallowed into pornography with impunity. After the celebrations, Serwadde said he plans to encourage the formation of a National Peace Reconciliation Dialogue. He applauded the government for the relentless pursuit of peace in the North and warding off Kony and his insurgency.

Rev. Diana M Nkesiga, Vicar, All Saints’ Cathedral, Kampala

This is a time for review and reflection as we pray about where we want this nation to go.  She added that there has been a lot of pain but there has also been a lot of progress; the cases of witchcraft, child sacrifice, sexual abuse. She said Ugandans had to be thankful to God for people who are making a difference in Uganda – such as civil servants, those helping the needy and also those who have been a voice to the voiceless.

Alex Mitala, overseer of the National Federation of Born Again Christians in Uganda

“Let us proclaim 50 years of organised development, a reformed education system, political transformation, political sanity and common sense, 50 years of peaceful and democratic transfer of power, 50 years of industrialisation and oil production as well as 50 years of enough electricity,” he said amidst applause and ululations from the crowd.

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