Gov’t Not Ready to Drop Religious Policy, Fr Lokodo Tells Pastors

Ethics Minister Fr Simon Lokodo has said government is not ready to drop the religious policy despite opposition from the Pentecostal churches countrywide.

Fr Lokodo instead urged the pastors to find their internal mechanisms of regulating their activities, which he said cannot affect the passing of the Religious and Faith-Based Organizations policy.

“Go ahead and make self-regulating rules but we must have a legal framework in place to protect citizens from manipulation, exploitation and loss of property from some faith-based organisations,” he told journalists at the media centre in Kampala on Friday.

“Whereas Article 29(1) (c) of the Constitution gives Ugandans freedom to practice any religion which includes right to belong and participate in the practice of any religious body or organization, government has never put in place a regulatory framework,” he added.

The minister said he has also given time to the religious leaders to consult on the policy before the government holds a validation meeting for the adoption of the policy and send it to Cabinet.

“We want them to consult widely so that they own up the policy,” he said.

Pastors leading different Pentecostal churches in Uganda have rejected the proposed government policy aimed at regulating faith based organisations, saying its designers have an agenda to stop the spread of the “good news” of Christ.

The policy drafted by the Directorate of Ethics and Integrity in the Office of the President and being pushed by the Minister for Ethics and Integrity, Rev Fr Simon Lokodo, seeks among others to regulate the activities of faith based organisations and bring harmony between them and the State.

The pastors are particularly opposed the proposed clause in the policy which seeks to ensure that issues of charity are distinguished from the church; and the requirement of anybody starting a church to have a qualification of a Bachelor’s degree in Theology.

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