President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has revealed that the Born-Again Christians can be good agents of socio-economic transformation due to their discipline and stance against squandering their lives in unconstructive undertakings.

“I’m glad that you, the new Balokole, seem to have gotten the point and understood the mission of Jesus holistically of Preaching the gospel, Healing the sick, Feeding the hungry and getting involved in Working with your own hands. Actually even Saint Paul later on said anybody who does not work should not even eat,” President Museveni said.

President Museveni plants a tree seedling at Kaunda Grounds in Gulu during the Light up Acholi land for Jesus Mission 2023

The President made the remarks today during the closure of a 4-day Light Up Acholi-land For Jesus Mission 2023 Crusade held at Kaunda Grounds, Gulu City. The Crusade was hosted by Pastor Patience Rwabwogo- Senior Preacher at Covenant Nations Church.

H. E Museveni explained that when he had just come into power, there was a group of religious leaders who approached him and requested him to ban the Born-Again religion, claiming that believers were liars and pretending to be performing miracles.

“I told them to leave them. If they are telling lies, God will deal with them. I’m glad that God guided me not to involve myself in that area,” he noted.

The President was also happy to note that the religious group which they wanted him to ban has now proved to be a formidable force, helping the government to drive its socio-economic transformation agenda.

Pastor Patience Rwabwogo of the Covenant Nations Church addresses members of the congregation

“Now with Patience, as they were studying in schools, I used to expose them to our culture, especially wealth creation and she absorbed it very seriously. Even now she is a big farmer with her husband,” President Museveni expounded.

Museveni further thanked the Lord for identifying a pastor in his family almost 150 years after the coming of the modern church.

“Many people don’t know that my family are cattle keepers. We never participated in the government nor in churches. That’s why I was the first person in my family to work for the government in 1970 when I was recruited as a civil servant. Before, no member of my family was in government because they were always busy with their cows,” Gen. Museveni noted, adding that he never concentrated much on what Pastor Patience was doing until recently when he read her book “Jesus’ Africa”.

“The USA, one of the most developed countries in the world, was actually built by Born-Agains. And I have heard that in South Korea there’s a very active Christian group that is working to transform the country there. So, you should tap and listen to their message.”

President Museveni further underscored the importance of religion in the development of a country like Uganda.

“People of Acholi and Africa as whole, we need this message of religion (Christianity and Islam) because the traditional society had its own strength but it had a lot of pessimism which was caused by the problem of what we were facing and low levels of technology but now we have got science which when combined with religion, can help us solve many problems,” he emphasized.

“I’m glad for your mission. It is a good idea that the government works with you (religious groups) to transform the people.”

On the other hand, President Museveni led a prayer of forgiveness and reconciliation before signing a declaration of prayer for Acholi-land.

He also pledged to give two tractors to the Born-Agains in Acholi sub region to help them fulfil the four dimensions of Jesus which include working with their hands to transform their livelihoods.

On the issue of Apaa land conflict, the President assured the people of Acholi that the government is already handling the matter following the establishment of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry.

“That issue of Apaa is a simple issue and already addressed by our Constitution which says we should respect the colonial borders. The maps are there, we shall go and find out where Apaa is according to colonial maps and besides it doesn’t matter where it is located because Ugandans are free to live anywhere. So, what is the problem? What are you fighting for? That is why we have now appointed a Judicial Commission of Inquiry To deal with the matter. They are going to discover who has been causing these problems.”

On her part, Pastor Patience thanked the President for always sparing some time to attend their crusades whenever they invite him.

“The people of Acholi are very happy to receive you here Mzee,” Pastor Patience stated.

She also informed President Museveni that the four-day has been life changing to them and believes that it has given a new lease of life to Acholi-land.

“What God did here, I have never experienced it; It has been as though the heaven opened and He came down literally. These four days have been life changing for all of us and I believe he has opened light to the new Acholi-land,” Pastor Patience added.

The outgoing General Overseer of the National Fellowship of Born-Again Pentecostal Churches of Uganda, Bishop Joshua Lwere credited President Museveni and the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government for recognizing and uniting Born Agains in Uganda.

“Over 30 years ago, we had fights as Balokole but your government managed to reconcile and unite us. We thank you, Your Excellency. We were in gutters, but you brought us and united us. We are now included in all government programs. We also have two representatives on the Inter Religious Council of Uganda, and we are now growing stronger every day,” Bishop Lwere said.

He also told the President that as Born Agains, they are now embarking on the socio-economic transformation journey of Uganda.

Members of the congregation worshiping during the Light up Acholi land for Jesus Mission 2023 held at Kaunda grounds in Gulu

“Apostle Alex Mitala, my predecessor, is one of the biggest farmers in Kiboga, Pastor Robert Kayanja also has a big project in Northern Uganda. We are no longer those past Balokole who had no direction. We now speak transformation and Pan Africanism.”

The Minister of State for Northern Uganda, Hon. Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny informed the gathering that although guns have gone silent in Northern Uganda, people are still hurting and reconciliation will be the only way to bring the people together to work for development.

The ceremony was attended by senior pastors from across the country and representatives of other religious faiths, Members of Parliament and cultural leaders, among others.

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