By Aaron Sseruyigo
KAMPALA – Over 500 Born-again Church leaders in Uganda have said they are going to join hands and fight “a common enemy” until they win ‘the war.’
By common enemy, they are referring to the Minister for Ethics and Integrity, Rev Fr Simon Lokodo who they say out of “selfish interests” is trying to sabotage operations of Born again Churches in Uganda.
On Thursday, the group gathered at Imperial Royale hotel in Kampala to brainstorm on the policy document by government which critics say once implemented will infringe on religious rights stipulated in Article 29 of the constitution of Uganda and “give the State a lot of power to stump ongoing efforts by different Born Again Christians to plant churches across the country.”
Spearheaded by the Directorate of Ethics and Integrity in the Office of the President, the policy, according to media, will require all religious institution to register under one institution to be distinct from other non-government organisation, and will present formal procedure for anybody who wants to start a Church.
The same will require pastors to declare their source of income, attend theological classes before opening up a church and present a well-defined financial accountability structure.
“You have been asking us to leave politics alone and this time we are telling politicians to leave matters of God alone,” said Apostle Dr. Peter Mutebi – Founder , President of Peter Mutebi Ministries International.
According to Pastor Umar Mulinde of Gospel Life Church, Namasuba and Prof. Simon Kayiwa, the president should sack the minister or he should resign.
“Rev Fr Simon Lokodo and his PS should resign. A Catholic Father is not the right person to handle anything concerning Balokole churches, if Uganda government is trying to impose regulations without sitting down with the Balokole and discuss with them how best they like to conduct their affairs, then government will be inviting a very serious trouble,” Pastor Umar Mulinde says.
“In one of the meetings invited to discuss the new policy, when I tried to give divergent views, the minister said if I didn’t want I should get out. He called Born Again churches flies. It is high time the president sacked him,” said Kayiwa.
“If he is the one trying to ruin the strong relationship that we have with the president, he should be sacked. This is our livelihood and whoever touches it makes a big mistake,” Bishop David Kiganda of Christianity Focus Centre said.
“We request that His Excellency the President considers to transfer Hon Rev Fr Simon Lokodo,” Bishop David Kiganda added.
“It is not government’s duty to stream line those issues. These are theological issues, these are doctrinal issues. The government knows nothing about out doctrine. If they had known our doctrine, they would not have registered Kibwetere,” Dr Serwadda, head of the Born-again faith federation earlier told media.
Bishop David Kiganda said “it is evident” the more the academic qualification cannot stop one from committing crimes.
In their resolution during Thursday’s meeting, the Pastors agreed to ask President Museveni to intervene and also sign a petition to the Speaker of Parliament requesting that the policy is not passed by the House.
“We shall tell the Speaker that we are ready to challenge the policy in the Constitutional Court if it is passed by Parliament. If the Constitutional Court listened to the gay people and quashed the Anti-Homosexuality law, why not this policy?”
The Church leaders said there are enough laws in the country to deal with any faith leader who performs contrary to State expectations.