Wednesday 31 May 2017

Museveni comes out with policy to Movementalise (NRM-lise) evangelical churches in Uganda : Govt does not need a separate law or policy to regulate Pentecostal/evangelical churches

My Comment 

We do not need a policy or law to regulate evangelical churches in Uganda because this would tantamount to discrimination and violation of the right to freedom of religion. The policy purports to regulate all faiths but is in principle targeting evangelical churches. Although they are a number of vices in evangelical churches just like in the catholic and Anglican churches, a separate policy or law is not necessary . The vices in evangelical churches can be fought using the laws of Uganda e.g laws against rape, defilement and extortion . How can the ministry of Ethics   headed by a catholic priest be expected to make an impartial policy or law to regulate evangelical churches that are anti-catholic and anti-ecumenism. This is a clear conflict of interest. No body will succeed in uniting born again Christians in Uganda in a single religion or faith.

Government cannot legislate against emerging Pentecostal churches

Aaron Mwesigye

Religious Affairs Department in the Minisitry of Ethics and Integrity headed by Anglican Canon Aaron Mwesigye

Catholic Rev .Fr. Simon Lokodo a catholic priest heads the Minisitry of Ethics and Integrity

Apostle Tumwine Charles from Pastor Joseph Serwada’s Born Again Faith Federation Supports policy to regulate Pentecostal churches  

Govt cannot legislate against emerging fellowships


There are three groups that have been involved in a simmering battle to control the growing evangelical church movement in Uganda.
As long as they fought independently, their efforts amounted to little. But the three groups have now found a way to work together and the result of that cooperation is the proposed policy to regulate faith-based organisations.
It is being drafted by the directorate of ethics under the office of the president. If passed, the policy will effectively put a leash around the necks of Born-Again churches and, by extension, on their faithful.
At the apex of this scheme is an invisible hand; a top politician who sees the Born-Again churches as a political base. Consequently, his/her intention is to cluster them together so that they can be swung one way or the other to suit his/her political whims. Many top pastors are in his/her good books.
At the intermediary level is a church in Nakasero that is dreadfully scared of losing its congregants to other worship houses. This church has friends in high places helping it fight its battles.
At the bottom of the rung is a pastor who has struggled for years to be seen as the eminence of the Born-Again faith. He prefers to call himself presiding apostle, whatever that means. His ruthless thirst for power would make some career politicians cringe. His church suffered when his deputy left with a big chunk of the congregation and started a now-thriving separate ministry.

Dr. Joseph Serwada, the  presiding apostle of BAFFE
What forced the three groups to form a united front is the emergence of midweek fellowships which they consider existential threats. These fellowships, the biggest of which is Zoe, led by Prophet Elvis Mbonye, attract thousands of faithful on weekdays and are threatening the traditional Sunday church culture.
If the controversial policy is passed, fellowships will ultimately be dismantled through denial of license to congregate (that is the intention) and the three protagonists will have vanquished their common enemy with one legislative blow.
The politician will have his/her constituency, the church in Nakasero will hope that its congregants return to their Sunday routine, and the presiding apostle will finally be accorded full recognition as head of a religion and given all the emoluments that come along with that; probably a Land Cruiser and the chance to say official prayers at national functions.
But for the policy to be passed, the public must be stupefied. That is why the media is suddenly awash with stories of pastors fleecing their followers, burning copies of the Bible; even the ghosts of Kanungu have been un-mummified, 17 years after they were buried.
The truth in the proposed policy is a political ploy crudely disguised as a response to public outcry. That is why it is swathed in contradictions and its architects wanted to pass it stealthily.
That is why it purports to cover all religions yet, in reality, it is aimed at only evangelicals. That is why the directorate claims to be doing consultations across the country but is underhandedly threatening people who signed a petition to stop it.
That is why when my petition landed on his desk, Canon Aaron Mwesigye, the head of religious affairs at the directorate, called me to say: “You are wasting your paper and ink…this policy came as a directive from the president.”

If, indeed, this is true (which I highly doubt), then shouldn’t we conclude that the ‘consultations’ are just a mockery?
Granted, there are so many bad apples in the pastoral basket, but the truth is that government does not need extra legislation to apprehend criminal actors within the church. Some have already been charged in courts of law, many others can still be, within existing laws.
Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
There is no conceivable way in which government or any of its arms can legislate against emerging weekday fellowships without taking us back to the days of Idi Amin when certain faiths were banned.
But here we find ourselves in a position where a Catholic priest (Fr Simon Lokodo) and an Anglican prelate (Canon Mwesigye) think they can (mis)use their positions at the ministry of Ethics and Integrity to force believers back into their denominational churches. That is not going to happen.

The author is the founder of Watchman Ministries, Kampala.

In the line of fire for exposing thievery, robbery and thuggery in Uganda’s Pentecostal churches and Pastor Serwadda’s devilish ecumenism : Pastor Bujingo blasts Robbing, cunning pastors : Born again KCCA’s Musisi Evicts Pastor Bugingo From Bat Valley: Pastor Bugingo unhappy with Impregnated Daughter and Catholic Son In-Law

Pentecostalism becomes an official religion in Uganda through the ‘’efforts’’ of ecumenist Pastor Joseph Sserwadda’s Born Again Faith Federation


The Harlot Ugandan Church and spiritual fornication : When American- Ugandan prosperity pastors dress in religion garb like catholic and Anglican clergy : Pastors who dress like this are controlled by the spirit of hypocrisy; they slowly drift away from preaching the true gospel and eventually lead to Rome.

Uganda: Policy to Regulate Religious Activities Divides Clerics

The Monitor,  8th May, 2017

By Lilian Namagembe
Kampala — A section of Christian believers have challenged the government proposal to formulate a national faith- based organisation policy to provide standard guidelines on starting churches, labeling it as a move to infringe on the freedom of worship.
Led by a journalist-turned pastor, Mr Joseph Kabuleta also head of the "The Watchman Ministry" a Pentecostal fellowship, a group of 1,000- claiming to be spiritual believers mostly Pentecostals, have signed a petition and submitted to the Directorate of Ethics and Integrity in the Office of the President.
"Rather than taking the destructive historical path of state control and restraint reminiscent of banning evangelical and Pentecostal faith entities in the 1970s, we implore the government, through this petition to adhere to the post -1995 Constitutional governance dispensation that embraces diversity and religious freedom within the confines of acceptable religion.." said Mr Kabuleta, one of the principal petitioners at a press conference held in Kampala recently.
The petitioners also carried a copy of the draft policy they claim the directorate was planning to pass secretly without consulting all the stakeholders.
The proposed policy, if put in place will among others, create and empower the department for Religious Affairs to vet and recommend the registration of religious organisations.
Also, the policy would establish a data management system, regulation as well as establish collaboration between government and faith-based organisations to implement government programmes.
This, Mr Kabuleta claimed will not only infringe the Constitutional right to religious freedom but also depicts control of the state over exercise of the right to practice religion.
"This thing of politics coming on the pulpits is not right, let them stay where they are," Mr Kabuleta said.
However, the petition comes a month after the proposed policy was supported by clerics from the Muslim Supreme Council and the Orthodox Church from the Rwenzori sub region during a consultative meeting in Fort Portal Town on, saying it was long overdue.
Sheikh Nasid Musenene, the general secretary Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, Kasese District said; "The policy will address issues affecting the different faiths such as mushrooming churches, fraudsters, corrupt and other criminal activities."
When contacted, Rev Canon Aaron Mwesigye who heads the directorate disowned the draft policy, saying that they are still consulting the different stakeholders after which, they will draft the policy.
"There is nothing like a draft so far, and even if we come up with one, it is not going to be a legislation but rather guidelines to be followed before one establishes a church," Canon Mwesigye said.
Regarding the allegations that the proposed policy intends to infringe on the freedom of worship, Canon Mwesigye cited the 2000 mass killings at a Kanungu church in western Uganda that left an estimated 1,000 people dead, adding that it is the government's responsibility to protect people.
"Those challenging the policy are fake churches. The policy is not exclusive. There is nothing at all; those who are petitioning are just wasting time," he said.
The killings, in 2000, were blamed on the religious cult, the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God headed by renegade Catholic clerics Joseph Kibwetere, Joseph Kasapurari and Credonia Mwerinde.
Recently, different Pentecostal preachers have been accused of exploiting their followers by selling to them different products such as holy water and rice, handkerchiefs, while other preachers tell their congregations to offer money to God and plant hefty monetary "seeds" in their churches to enable Him listen to their prayers.

Uganda: Govt Moves to Regulate Operations of Religious Organs

By Jalira Namyalo

The Monitor, 10th April, 2017
Kampala — Through the Directorate of Ethics and Integrity, the Office of the President, has embarked on the development of a national policy on religious and faith-based organisations to foster a more healthy relationship with government and other stakeholders.
The State minister for Ethics and Integrity, Fr Simon Lokodo, said the policy is not intended to stifle but to address the significant disharmony within various religious and faith-based organisations (RFBOs).
"There are cases where some religious organisations have contradictory beliefs or teachings. Some organisations sabotage government programmes by discouraging their followers from seeking medical treatment, taking children to school and immunisation, participating in national identification card registration and census," Fr Lokodo said.
Speaking at a consultative meeting with religious leaders in Kampala, Fr Lokodo dismissed suspicion by both traditional religious organisations and pentecostal bodies that the policy is a tool to trim their powers citing misunderstandings.
The former provincial secretary of the Church of Uganda, Rev Aaron Mwesigye, said the policy seeks to provide a legal framework to combat corruption and immorality for the development of the country.
"The new policy seeks to establish neutral committees at all levels comprising both government and religious representatives to act as a watchdog between stakeholders," said Rev Mwesigye who is also the director of religious affairs at the Directorate of ethics and Integrity.
The Mufti of Uganda, Sheikh Shaban Mubajje, welcomed the policy, saying: "People have committed several crimes while disguising themselves as religious bodies. We all believe in the Ten Commandments and many people disguising as preachers have come out to divert our youth by wrongly preaching the gospel."