Calls to pass the anti-gay Bill dominate Uganda's New Year messages
As thousands of Ugandans made their resolutions for 2013, mainstream churches and evangelical preachers in Uganda have asked Parliament to urgently pass the Anti-Gay Bill, to avert the recruitment of youngsters into adopting same-sex behaviour.
At Namirembe Cathedral in Kampala, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali said the Church of Uganda would continue to protect the culture and the institution of marriage which advocates the union between man and woman.
The Anti-Gay Bill which has stalled for sometime proposes harsh penalties for convicted homosexuals. It is broadly popular among Ugandans and legislators, but has provoked the ire of human rights activists and western governments.
Addressing tens of thousands at the seventh annual National Prayer Day and Night at Nakivubo Stadium in the capital city, several pastors also warned legislators against siding with the Western world on the gay issue, saying they risked losing their seats.
“We ask Members of Parliament to stop wasting time debating the Bill but simply pass it to save school-going children, who are at risk of being recruited [into homosexuality]. Our leaders should desist from any act that would frustrate this proposed law because it has delayed,” said Bishop David Kiganda, the leader of Christianity Focus Ministries (CFM).
Bishop Kiganda, the overseer of "Born again" churches in the country, said the vice threatened the morality of the people.
The remarks by pastors came amidst controversies and media reports of increasing cases of homosexuality in the country. Rev Paul Schinners from the United Kingdom commended Uganda for the Bill, saying it was a clear stand for God.
“There is no other nation the world over that has such a plan and through this, Uganda is going to be blessed,” Rev Schinners said.
“We understand that Uganda had many problems like tribalism, corruption, but many people are simply pointing fingers and judging each other yet all this cannot cause change but it is conviction that would bring change in society,” he added.
Another pastor, Rev. Alex Mitala asked Ugandans to make positive decisions for the New Year if the country is to develop further.
“You need to decide to add value on yourself, your attitudes, work and plans to show action where it is not and do something new,” he said.
At Mandela National Stadium, Namboole, the leader of Born Again Federation of Uganda, Dr Joseph Sserwadda, said there is an urgent need for the anti-gay law because the country needs to confront sin head on.
Dr Sserwadda suggested that as legislators resume business for 2013, the Bill should be top on their agenda.
“We have learnt with shock that the people who recently appeared in the papers over the same practice have escaped to the USA. We know the USA with their policy will not deport them back to Uganda. Uganda should declare that it does not need him anymore. Let America keep them,” he said.
At St Andrews’ Cathedral, the Bishop of Mbale, Rt Rev Patrick Gimadu, decried the high-level corruption, child sacrifice, murders, defilement and homosexuality.
“In the New Year, we must renew our faith and fellowship by repenting. This is the time to seek forgiveness and allow Christ to give this country a new direction,” Bishop Gidudu said.
Reported By Juliet Kigongo, Ephraim Kasozi, Johnson Mayamba and David Mafabi.