KAMPALA – Political leaders led by National Unity Platform deputy president in charge of Northern Uganda, Dr Lina Zedriga, Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) National Coordinator Alice Alaso and religious leaders have petitioned court over the continued closure of worshipping centres.
The political heads and religious leaders who were addressing a joint presser at Hotel Triangle in Kampala on September 8 expressed their dissatisfaction in the way the government treats the matter of the ban that was placed on worshipping centers.
According to Dr Zedriga, as practitioners of the various religious groups, the values of religion lie in being one’s self and practicing it.
She shares that people have since degenerated in terms of spiritual growth which would have been a different case if the places of worship were open.
“The times churches were open we would go and confess. Places like the taxi park and kikuubo are open, why not the churches. Spiritual damage is a lot and we can feel it. We are seriously thirsty, please open the churches so we can enjoy our constitutional right to worship,” Dr Zedrina said.
Sheikh Asuman Lule Ssemakula of Masjid Central Kitintale shared that growing up, all people were always told how the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.
He shares that before reopening buses, lodges, the government would have fronted places of worship.
According to Sheikh Asuman, the directive of 50% on taxis should also be put on worshipping places.
“They should give us SOPs we can follow. We love the country and respect the president but if he takes away the priorities then we are doomed. The time we leave these places of worship deserted, they get destroyed because they are not catered for.”
Sheikh Ssemakula does not only strive for the reopening of places of worship but also for the government to help them restore these places that are dilapidated since they have been deserted for some time.
Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) National Coordinator Alice Alaso shared that the continued closure is an outright attempt by the president to regulate who and how people worship.
She shared that it is sad that the leaders of the nation and the presidential advisors on COVID-19 trivialised the matter of places of worship by suggesting a monthly payment for religious leaders.
Alaso says it is blasphemous to think of them (religious leaders) in that regard.
“Where is the report that the places of worship are super spreaders? We need to pray to God now more than ever before. The wickedness and what we see in Masaka are issues we need to kneel before God.”
Prophet Micheal Kiganda, of Glory to Glory Church in Bugoloobi explained that the government was made to believe that places of worship are super spreaders of Covid by Dr Musenero, Aceng and Atwine who made the decision of their closure without consulting.
He explained that people ill advised the president, and are going to bring about a generation of deplorables because people now lack spiritual nourishment.
Nakawa East MP Balimwezo Nsubuga shared that closing places of worship means closing out God.
He explained that places of worship play a big role in taming behaviour, which have currently deteriorated, something evidenced by the rampant domestic violence lately.
“People are dying in houses because there is no counselling. We want the court to put pressure on the government to see the opening of churches. Freedom to worship as a right is embedded in the constitution. We need to open churches to tame behaviour,” he said.
Balimwezo gave an example of parliament which has sittings of over 200 legislators who take part in the sittings.
“It is important we think about the role of churches in society. They have from the word go, been respecting SOPs, religious leaders are gifted as they can tell people what to do and they believe them.
Evelyn Naikoba, a lawyer, said they have taken the matter to constitutional court to challenge the phenomenon of the continued closure of churches.
“We are challenging the discriminatory treatment given to places of worship that is why we are in constitutional court. What we see is a crackdown on religious institutions and COVID-19 just presented an opportune time to do this.”