President Museveni hails Comboni missionaries on faith, urges Ugandans on household incomes

Sunday 15th February 2015

President Yoweri Museveni has commended the Comboni Missionaries for introducing the Christian faith in Uganda and developing it for the last 100 years, noting that they brought a new angle of how to carry out Gods work. He said that one of the positive developments was the promotion of forgiveness unconditionally. He reiterated that Christianity which promotes unconditional forgiveness added value to the people of Uganda.

“It is not true that Africans did not know God before Christians and Muslims came. The name of God in Acholi is Lubanga. That is not Christian! Same as Ruhanga in Runyankole which means the creator. Yes, there where spirits but they were not God. In the African culture, yes you could forgive but you must pay the price that is why we have mato put in Acholi” he said, adding that there was nothing like unconditional forgiveness.

“For Jesus on the cross to say that forgive them for they do not know what they are doing is unusual. Africans believe in revenge, in Ankole, there was nothing like forgiving unconditionally. However, Christianity brought value addition to the lives of Africans. I thank the Comboni missionaries for doing their part in Uganda,” he said.

The President who first apologized for not removing his beret to the congregation which braved the midday scotching heat to attend the celebrations said because of his bald head, it was recommended that he puts it on.

“I must apologize for speaking with the beret on because in Church, I have to remove it. However because of the sun especially if you have a bald head, it is recommended that I put it on,” he said.

President Museveni who was accompanied by the First Lady and Minister for Karamoja Affairs Hon. Janet Museveni was today speaking during the centenary celebrations for the Catholic Church at the St. Mary’s Catholic Parish in Kitgum District held under the theme: “Follow Christ your real life.”

Mass was conducted by the Pope’s Nuncio to Uganda, H.E. Michael August Blume. During the same occasion, Rev. Anthony Nyeko was installed as the new priest of St. Mary’s Catholic Parish Kitgum replacing Eliyah Kapaloni by Bishop John Baptist Odama.

President Museveni observed that some people were not sure that Uganda could be peaceful again until the successful efforts by the UPDF. He gave the example of Karamoja where the NRM Government recovered almost 40,000 rifles creating peace in the region, adding that it was a big task which was accomplished. He was pleased to note that the LRA of Kony and ADF were defeated and cannot disturb prevailing peace.

The President said the biggest challenge in the country is the issue of household incomes, noting that there are spectators and players in the economy which is a big problem. He commended the Comboni Missionaries for handing over the leadership of the Catholic Church in Kitgum to the local Church leaders and urged them to work with a dedicated spirit to empower their people in the fight against poverty. He gave the example of the Kabale Catholic Church Bishop who has a tea plantation of 1,800 acres in Kabale and Kanungu District as a commercial venture and urged religious leaders to be models in the fight against poverty.

President Museveni introduced the UPDF Officers who have been assigned the duty of supervising the promotion of wealth creation at the household level and commercial agriculture in the area.

He said that the NRM Government had paid its debt of providing electricity to the people of Lamwo, Kitgum and Namukora. He assured the gathering that the Government would construct the Oluyo- Gulu- Kitgum- Musingo road to the border with South Sudan using locally generated funds while Rwenkunyu, Masindi Port- Apach- Lira- Kitgum road would be built with funds from the African Development Bank.

President Museveni made a cash donation of Sh30million to St. Mary’s Catholic Parish towards its Centenary celebrations.

The First Lady Janet Museveni congratulated the people of Kitgum for celebrating 100 years of faith.

“We must testify to the World that we behave in line with the examples that Jesus Christ gave us,” she said.

The Archbishop of York in the United Kingdom, Dr John Sentamu thanked God for the 100 years of Christianity in Kitgum and called on the people to continue living in the unity of Christ.

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanya paid glowing tribute to President Museveni for providing stability and thanked God for the leaders he has given our country.

The Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Dan Kidega thanked God for doing him the favor of serving the people of East Africa and saluted the President for the good work and love he has extended to the people of Acholi Sub Region. He thanked him for the peaceful environment he has created for the people and for enabling the Church to do its work. He also thanked him for empowering the people.

Arch Bishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu Arch Diocese saluted President Museveni for honoring their invitation to the ceremony. He said that the struggle of the Martyrs in bringing the word of God cost them their lives and commended the Comboni Missionaries for bringing Jesus Christ to Kitgum, Uganda and Africa at large. He saluted Jildo Irwa and Daudi Okello for sacrificing their lives for Jesus Christ.

The State Minister of International Relations Okelleo Oryem thanked President Museveni for the peace in Uganda and for facilitating the reburial of the Late Gen. Bazilio Okello remains in his ancestral home. He saluted him for his reconciliatory spirit. He also thanked the President for inviting Pope Francis to visit Uganda.

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