Iron Sheets Saga, Anti- homosexuality Bill Dominate Easter Message
Religious and political leaders across the country have used their sermons to condemn what they called ungodly acts committed especially by those assigned with public trust. In their Easter message, the leaders condemned government officials who are involved in the misappropriation of iron sheets meant for the Karamoja sub-region.
The prelates also used their easter sermons to thank parliament for passing the anti-homosexuality bill that is meant to outlaw all same-sex relationships. While leading the Easter Sunday service at All Saints Cathedral Church in Nakasero, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu praised Parliament for passing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, calling it a bold move to uphold African traditional values.
Last month, Parliament unanimously passed legislation with stiff penalties for people who engage in these same-sex relationships. Kaziimba said parliament should continue with the spirit of working together, especially on matters that touch the lives of Ugandans. He urged the people to pray for President Yoweri Museveni, whom he believes is facing undue pressure from Western powers not to sign into law the bill.
He emphasized the need to empower the fight against all forms of immorality, highlighting issues such as adultery among married couples as those that also need serious attention.
Kaziimba also expressed frustration with parents, especially men who neglect their responsibilities in mentoring their children leaving their job to social media where children spend most of their time.
“Facebook, TVs, and laptops have become the parents, they are nurturing our children, and these children are learning a lot from these gadgets, but what are they getting? Most of it is not good stuff,” Kaziimba said.
From Lubaga Cathedral, the Archbishop of Kampala archdiocese, Dr. Paul Ssemogerere, expressed concern about the country’s deteriorating moral standards despite many individuals professing religiosity and attending places of worship. Ssemogerere lamented that many people engage in immoral practices immediately after leaving the houses of worship, leading to an erosion of the moral fiber of the country.
The prelate went on to address the issue of corruption, which he believes is pervasive throughout Ugandan society. The Archbishop was particularly troubled by the fact that many of those involved in these scandals profess to be religious, with some being Catholics.
Pointing to the recent iron sheets scandal, Ssemogerere noted that corruption cases at the national level are just a fraction of the corruption problem, with bribery and cheating becoming prevalent at all levels of society. He cited daily examples of people bribing traffic officers, which has become a norm, and parents paying exorbitant amounts of money to schools to cheat for their children’s examinations.
Ssemogerere expressed his concern about the tendency of individuals to blame others for the corruption problem while ignoring their own role in perpetuating it. He stressed that every person has the power to fight corruption by looking inward and committing to living according to their principles. He further urged the faithful, to reflect and draw inspiration from the example of the risen Christ, in order to align their behavior with their beliefs.
The prelate emphasized that corruption and other vices are not only contrary to the teachings of Christ but also hinder spiritual growth and impede community development. For his part, the Katikiro, Charles Peter Mayiga, also highlighted the importance of consistently addressing the issue of corruption, even though it has been a long-standing topic of discussion. He stressed that waiting for those responsible to take action is not enough and that ongoing efforts are necessary to combat corruption effectively.
In his view, achieving middle-income status in Uganda is impossible as long as the government and the public are mired in corruption. The Katikiro believes that a federal system could be a potential solution, with each community given the chance to tackle the issues they face, including corruption. He argued that this approach could empower people to take ownership of their problems and work together to find sustainable solutions.
Ivan Aloysius Kalanzi, the head of the laity at the Kampala Archdiocese, suggested that those seen engaging in vices such as corruption, which were mentioned by the archbishop, should be openly called out and addressed as a way to combat the issue. Kalanzi also expressed his confusion as to why those in positions of power, who already have wealth and resources, continue to steal from the little that has been allocated to help the poor.
John Chrysostom Muyingo, the state minister in charge of higher education, also urged the faithful to pray for the country as it is in desperate need of prayers in all aspects. He however said the government he serves is committed to fighting poverty, but stressed that everyone has a role to play in this effort. Muyingo noted that while people tend to condemn those in government for corruption, everyone in their own way contributes to the problem, yet they fail to acknowledge this fact.
In addition to urging the faithful to fight against corruption, Minister Muyingo emphasized the need to combat poverty. He encouraged the congregation to take advantage of the various programs established by the government to address poverty.
Meanwhile, the Bishop of Sebei Diocese, Paul Kipto Masaba has asked Christians to take lead in teaching children the true meaning of living in Christ. Bishop Kipto wondered how the church would survive if the parents that are supposed to nurture the Christians of tomorrow abandoned the duty leaving the children to go astray.
“It’s your role as a Christian to discipline children; whoever has not been knowing this should know…I ask you, brethren, Christ is risen, let our works and lives reflect his power,” Kipto said this while preaching at St Peters Church of Uganda Cathedral in Kapchorwa. Speaking at Gayaza Catholic Parish in Gayaza Wakiso district, Robert Kyagulanyi Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, the President of the National Unity Platform said this year’s Easter should remind believers that just as Jesus overcame his suffering, they should have hope that their suffering too would one day end.
“We have to be steadfast in resisting those who abuse their power to deprive others of their rights and steal with impunity because they know nothing will be done to them. We must also do everything possible to ensure that all our people who are in prisons are released. That’s the meaning of the rising of Christ,” Kyagulanyi said.
He added that although he welcomes the prosecution of the Minister for Karamoja Affairs Mary Gorreti Kitutu over her role in the misappropriation of Iron sheets meant for Karamoja, it’s important that everybody who was involved in the saga is held accountable. “We want those with power to have shame and charge everybody involved in this matter including the Vice President, the Speaker of Parliament, the Prime minister. If what they did was wrong, they should all pay the price other than charging one person,” Kyagulanyi said.
Kitutu is on remand at Luzira prison for causing a loss of public property, corruption, and conspiracy to defraud the government. Kitutu allegedly caused a loss of public property between June 2022 and January 2023 by diverting 14,500 pre-painted iron sheets intended for the Karamoja Community Empowerment Program to her own benefit and that of third parties.
Other officials implicated include; State Minister for Primary Education Joyce Moriku Kaducu, East African Affairs Minister Rebecca Kadaga, Speaker of Parliament Anita Among, Henry Musasizi Ariganyira, State for Finance, State Minister for Defense Jacob Oboth-Oboth, Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, his deputies, Amos Lugoloobi, the Third Deputy Premier Rukia Nakadama, Government Chief Whip Dennis Hamson Obua and Fred Bwiino Kyakulaga, the State Minister for Agriculture, among others.
At Victory Center Church in Ndeeba, Presiding Apostle Dr. Joseph Serwadda condemned acts of immorality that have ravaged Uganda. From children consuming sexually charged content from media outlets to leaders stealing from the destitute, they are meant to serve.
Serwadda didn’t shy away from the ongoing iron sheets saga in which high-ranking government officials have been involved and has led to the prosecution and consequent remanding of Kitutu. Serwadda said Uganda is now officially corrupt, holds no virtues and values, and that integrity isn’t taken to be important. He said that people who walk in the path of righteousness are despised.
Serwadda also used the moment to urge President Museveni to assent to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill which was recently passed by parliament. From Kabale, Gaddie Akanjuna, the Bishop of Kigezi Diocese described government officials implicated in the iron sheets scandal as selfish.
Preaching During Easter Sunday celebrations at Rugarama Cathedral in Kabale district, Akanjuna said the officials acted selfishly and corruptly since they knew the intention of the iron sheets but decided to divert them.
The bishop wondered how the implicated officials could not consider how Karamoja is struggling to develop. According to Akanjuna, the implicated officials should emulate the Bible’s teachings about uplifting the poor and helping the needy.
Akanjuna also expressed concern over rampant cases of land wrangles in the region describing them as unGodly.
Meanwhile, Dr. Charles Benard Ebitu Obaikol, the Bishop Emeritus of Soroti Diocese has called on the Church to take the lead in nurturing male children in order to build strong families. Speaking at the commissioning of Mother’s Union at St. Peter’s Cathedral, Bishop Obaikol noted that while mothers are strong and prayerful in their families through Mother’s Union mentorship, their faith is often tested by men and husbands who are not nurtured spiritually.
He emphasized the need for the Church to focus on male children and help them develop spiritually so they can become strong and supportive husbands and fathers. The retired bishop also expressed concern about the number of males wasting away in trading centers and how the lack of attention given to males is affecting their education. He encouraged people to attend university graduations and observe the declining number of males graduating.
During the commissioning ceremony, Bishop Kosea Odongo, the main celebrant, also highlighted the importance of men in building strong families. He urged men to leave behind sinful behavior such as adultery, drunkenness, lies, and ungodliness and to prioritize spiritual growth. In addition, Bishop Odongo spoke out against corruption, gender-based violence, and LGBTQ practices. He questioned the notion that LGBTQ is a right and reminded the congregation that society needs both men and women to produce children and build families.