Gov’t Urged to Expedite National Policy on Religious Organisations

Busoga Diocese Bishop, Rt. Rev. Paul Naimanye

Religious leaders from Eastern Uganda have welcomed the proposal by government to draft a National policy on religious and faith based organizations in Uganda, this calling for its fast tracking.

The policy aimed at promoting and fostering a healthy relationship between religious and faith based organizations and the government for harmony and mutual cooperation is viewed by religious leaders as a timely remedy to the ‘mushrooming, case quack and fake self-proclaimed’ spiritual leaders.

During a consultative meeting on the development of the religious and faith based organization policy in Uganda for eastern region held at the Source of the Nile Hotel Jinja on Wednesday September 21st, sale religious leaders suggested government should include measures to fight corruption and quack organizations infiltrating the public.

Header advertisement

The Bishop of Busoga Diocese Rt Rev Paul Moses Naimanhye observed that unless it’s mere politicking or the policy is later politicized after its enacted, the intention as proposed is good because currently, it’s impossible for government to harmonize, regulate and monitor the operations of faith based organizations under the current framework.

“Government had erred in the constitutional provision for freedom of worship while silent about the policies for checks and balances to regulate the freedom which has given every individual liberty to start up a place of worship with sometimes ill motives of extorting money from the public. We believe the said policy will stipulate regulations to this effect” Bishop Naimanhye said.

The Bishop of Mbale Diocese Rt. Rev Patrick Gidudu said; “it’s the only way to check on the relevancy of the religions around since many are engaging in dubious acts like it was the case for Kibwetere. This
organized body can give faith organizations a forum for cooperation”

He however challenged government to strengthen its monitoring role to all religious organizations saying many may present good intentions to the government but later act to the contrary.

“This is likely to be  similar to the interreligious council we already have in place only that another party, the government, is now involved and is responsible for oversight role” said Sheik Sinani Muwanika, the
regional Khadhi for Busoga sub region.

The director for ethics and religious affairs in the directorate of ethics and integrity in the office of the president   Rev Canon Aaron Mwesigye told participants that the policy will offer guidance on the role of religion in public sphere, drawing directly from the 1995 constitutional values of citizenship, human rights equality, freedom from discrimination, and freedom for conscience, religion, thought,
belief and opinion.

“We have so far experienced challenges that arise from the policy being misunderstood and, viewed with suspicion by both traditional religious organizations and Pentecostals” he added.

According to Shem Byakagaba, a consultant with the directorate of ethics and integrity, the policy will address lack of comprehensive and harmonized policy framework for religious organizations, their registration, need for transparency and accountability in their operations, their functions visa vie the state and promotion of unity and cooperation.

It was among others attended by the Rev Fr Stephen Luwangula, the head of the Orthodox Church in eastern Uganda, the Bishop elect for Central Busoga Diocese Venn Rev Patrick Wakula and retired head teacher Patronella Lujwala.


Header advertisement
To Top