President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has cautioned religious leaders against conducting fundraising events, saying they partly contribute to the promotion of corruption in the country.
“I would like you, the Church and Mosque people to help us, it is not the main source, but it is also a contributory problem. The fundraising culture is very dangerous especially for you Church people. The young politicians are intimidated by you, the religious leaders, they think they will go to heaven if they please you,” he said.
President Museveni made the remarks today during the End of Year National Thanksgiving prayers held at State House, Entebbe.
The President explained that whenever religious leaders organise such events, it is mostly the young politicians who suffer since most of the people they lead are poor and have nothing to contribute to the cause.
“You organise a fundraising event, then the community has not been mobilised to create wealth, so they don't have money; they just come and the only person who has some money is the MP. This puts these young people under pressure to go into debts by borrowing and getting involved in corruption. This should stop,” he asserted.
“Fundraising is wrong, it is premature. If villagers have not been mobilised in wealth creation and they don't have money, stop this fundraising because it is a means of extorting money from these young politicians who are dishonest; they don't want to tell you that they don't have money. Now, because they are supposed to do the oversight role of parliament, they cannot do it because they are looking for money to go and bribe people in the constituency by fundraising and giving bursaries. You are not the government. How can you give out bursaries?” President Museveni wondered.
The President also reiterated the government's commitment to fight corruption in the country. He said corruption is becoming a big problem which needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.
“We are going to crush it because it is going to derail us,” he assured.
H.E Museveni stressed that the vice is mainly orchestrated by people he described as “parasites” who want to have an easy life.
“We the farmers, the manufacturers are the ones who suffer from this corruption. If you build a bad road because you have diverted some of the money, where will our crops pass?” he said.
“And we are going to fight it, we are mobilising ourselves. They mainly steal government money; the source of that money is known, and we can monitor it. It is really possible to fight corruption.”
On the other hand, the President commended the religious leaders for finally listening to the teachings of Jesus Christ of preaching the right gospel of unity and hard work (wealth creation), saying that the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government has been preaching that ideology all the time.
“For us we say everybody should be a wealth creator. That is exactly, what we mean, if you create wealth in the four sectors of commercial agriculture, industry, services and ICT you will be implementing what the Preacher has been telling you,” He said.
“That message should be clarified especially to the young people. They spend so much time in leisure. Our traditional society was based on work. For instance, we the cattle keepers, by 5 O'clock in the morning you are up to milk the cows, by 7am you clean the kraal, by 8am the cows must be out to graze, the cultivators the same; the whole day was work oriented. Of course, now with the technology, some of it can be skipped. But still the culture of work must be instilled in children,” he added.
President Museveni also partly attributed the creation of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) terrorist group to the original members (children) who were sent to Egypt to study religious education and speak Arabic. He said when they were done with their studies, they came back to Uganda, looked for jobs in line with what they studied but were not successful, yet they didn't know how to work with their hands in agriculture, artisanship, industry, and services.
“So, they started staying in Nakasero Mosque, praying for miracle wealth. That is how some of them got disoriented and created these problems. Therefore, it is very crucial that first of all the parents but also the religious leaders emphasise this message of the preacher which is a long-term message of the NRM which we have been telling you all the time,” he expounded.
“Therefore, the modern churches and mosques, please integrate part of our heritage and see how you can bring it in. The Church and the Mosque should analyse the issues of wealth creation to enable believers to create prosperity.”
On the issue of the Anti- Homosexuality Act, the President reassured Ugandans that they should not be intimidated by anyone who thinks by doing so, they will change their stance over the matter.
“Don't be intimidated by all those fellows, if there's someone who doesn't want to respect our sovereignty, we pray for them, they can go. We have the capacity, we don't lack anything, the economy is growing so we shall be able to sustain ourselves.”
The President further challenged the religious leaders especially the Muslim clerics to sensitise believers to embrace the Parish Development Model (PDM) and Emyooga, explaining that the government poverty alleviation programs are not interest (riba)- oriented as some people perceive them.
“PDM and Emyooga money is a grant from the government, it is not a loan to you, it's a grant to your SACCO. Now within yourselves, you lend but the money is yours. We told you that don't put big interest on the money but put a little interest that will cover inflation. The interest is to keep the value of your money and operational costs.”
The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Maama Janet Museveni said the yearly national prayer custom is aimed at acknowledging the goodness and mercy of God towards Ugandans.
“Since our last gathering in the last national end of year prayers, we have a lot to thank you for. We thank you Lord for our leaders, we know that for everything you want to accomplish on earth, you first put leadership in place. We thank you Lord for our President, the cabinet, the Parliament and the Judiciary,” Maama Janet noted.
“Thank you, Lord, for the grace and courage you have given us to purge our country from the evils of immorality and sexual orientations which the world endeavoured to impose on us,” she added.
Pastor Dr. Moses Maka, the Archbishop of Seventh Day Adventist Church in Uganda, expressed sincere appreciation to President Museveni and Maama Janet for always giving God His due place in the leadership of Uganda.
“This is clearly demonstrated by your gesture of opening up the doors of the State House every year that we may come and thank God for the great things He has done in our midst. We also look forward to the year to come and ask Him also to guide us as He always does,” said Pastor Maka who was the main preacher at the ceremony.
He also advised leaders to always embrace the four factors of fruitfulness, multiplication, replenish and subdue, if they want to be effective in their leadership.
“I want to thank our leaders here who have understood that leadership comes from God and God has seen them to be leaders and managers,” Pastor Maka asserted.
“However, in order to be an effective leader, have dominion and sit comfortably on the throne and preside over, you have to do four things; be fruitful, multiply, replenish and to subdue. When you have done the four effectively and successfully, you have a right to have a dominion.”
The event was also attended by the Vice President, H.E Jessica Alupo, the Chief Justice, His Lordship Alfonse Owiny- Dollo, the NRM 1st National Vice Chairman, Al Hajji Moses Kigongo, the Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja, the former Vice President, H.E Gilbert Bukenya, the former Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi, Ministers, Members of Parliament, members of the diplomatic corps, religious leaders, among others.