A group of over 500 Born Again church leaders from various parts of the country have endorsed a move to ask President Museveni sack the State Minister for Ethics and Integrity Fr.Simon Lokodo for allegedly fanning a move that would make it compulsory for them to acquire theological training.
Lokodo recently said that a new policy that will require all religious leaders including pastors and Muslim imams to acquire minimum academic qualifications.
On Thursday, various Born Again church leaders gathered at Imperial Royale hotel in Kampala to brainstorm on the new policy before coming up with a decision to petition Museveni to sack the minister.
“In one of the meetings invited to discuss the new policy, when I tried to give divergent views, the minister said if I didn’t want I should get out. He called Born Again churches flies. It is high time the president sacked him,” said Prof. Simon Kayiwa of the Kayiwa ministries.
The Born Again church leaders said it appalling that one person with selfish interests is trying to bring about bad blood between their churches and President Museveni’s government, a thing they said they will not allow to go on.
“If he is the one trying to ruin the strong relationship that we have with the president, he should be sacked. This is our livelihood and whoever touches it makes a big mistake,” said Christianity Focus Centre’s Bishop David Kiganda.
Under the new National Policy on Religious and Faith-Based Organisations, all clerics will be required to obtain formal theological training and to obtain a certificate from a recognized institution.
According to the policy document, a number of stakeholders including the Anglican church, Roman Catholic church, elders forum, Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, judges, Members of Parliament and the Orthodox Church among others were consulted before coming up with it.
However, the Born Again church leaders said they are not part of any of the mentioned groups, adding that they have never been consulted.
They said they can be regulated by the 1995 Constitution and Penal Code other than the new policy being fanned by the minister.
“When one of our own, Pastor William Muwanguzi(Kiwedde) committed crimes, the law worked well on him. It is the same law that should be used on us and not what they want to bring,” said Kayiwa.
“You have been asking us to leave politics alone and this time we are telling politicians to leave matters of God alone,” said Pastor Peter Mutebi.
The group said they are going to join hands and fight a common enemy until they win’ the war’.
According to the new policy, faith-based institutions will be required to train clerics for their respective denominations and it will also put in place procedures to be followed by whoever wants to start a new church and will be required to declare their source of income.
The policy will also seek to enforce transparency and financial accountability in religious institutions.
A number of religions including Muslims, Anglican and Catholics among others have recognized theological schools from where their various leaders are trained from before they start doing the work of God.