Thousands Pray for Peace, Forgiveness
SOURCE: The New Vision
By Milton Olupot
THOUSANDS of worshippers gathered at Kololo Independence Ground yesterday for the national day of prayer and repentance.
President Yoweri Museveni, who was the chief guest, told the congregation that like the Biblical Moses who led the Israelites to the promised land of Canaan, his mission on earth is to deliver unity and peace to all Ugandans.
He challenged religious leaders to focus on the goals they want the believers to achieve.
"In the Bible, the children of Israel were delivered to Canaan, the promised land. What is your Canaan here on earth as religious leaders?" he asked.
"For me as a political leader, a revolutionary and a freedom fighter, I have already identified a Canaan which I am aiming at. What I am looking at is unity and peace for all Ugandans, East Africans and Africans," he said.
The President this week declared Sunday, June 20, a national day of prayer and repentance. He said in spite of the achievements made by the Government in the last 24 years, a number of things had gone wrong.
He cited immoral acts such as idolatry, sexual perversion, human sacrifice, bribery, witchcraft and embezzlement.
"These and other acts have not pleased God. We, therefore, run the risk of losing out on God's blessings if we choose to disobey him. On the other hand, we stand to gain if we obey God," he said.
The President told the over 6,000 congregation that the prayers were organised to rededicate Ugandans to God and also to glorify God for the achievements registered in the country.
He noted that Uganda is one of the richest and most beautiful countries on earth and that people have every reason to thank God for that gift.
Museveni urged thieves and the corrupt people serving in Government and the private sector to repent. He advised the people to learn science in order to tame and harness nature.
The prayers, with interludes of choir music, started at about 11:40am and ended at 4:30pm, with most of the preachers praying for peace during the general elections due early next year.
Museveni, flanked by his wife Janet, said God created man and blessed him to be fruitful and fill the earth, subdue it and tame nature. He said while other countries have subdued nature, Uganda and most of Africa had failed to do so.
He said the only answer to this is to combine work and prayer. "I have been involved in struggles for a long time. My experience is that as we pray, we also work. So I don't want people to engage only in prayer."
The President prayed against all the evils in the country and asked for forgiveness and for Ugandans to embrace patriotism.
"I thank God for the many blessings he has showered upon us all the time. Thanks for the fortitude to withstand losses in the process of liberating and building our country."
Pastor Julius Oyet led the opening prayer. He was followed by Rev. Ephraim Tumusiime of the Church of Uganda, Bishop Edward Baharagate of the Catholic Church and Sheik Shaban Mubajje, the Mufti of Uganda.
Tumusiime prayed for divine intervention against child sacrifice, violence, corruption, diseases such as HIV/AIDS, alcoholism and street children.
Baharagate prayed for the good health of the President and for peace during the 2011 national elections.
Mubajje said Ugandans should recognise that they have strayed and seek forgiveness. He prayed for more wisdom for the President and against greed, disobedience, sexual pervasion, child sacrifice.
The First Lady said God had been patient with Uganda, saying it is a covenant nation.
She said the hands of Ugandans were soiled with the blood of innocent children and asked for forgiveness.
Ethics and integrity minister Dr. Nsaba Buturo prayed for stability, peace and freedom.
"Free us of hypocrisy and double standards," he said.
Moroto County MP (UPC) Benson Obua prayed on behalf of Parliament, Brig. Charles Angina prayed on behalf of the Army, while Justice Godfrey Kiryabwire prayed on behalf of the Judiciary.
Obua prayed that corrupt MPs who fail to not confess should not return to the 9th Parliament.
Angina prayed: "Block the devil that could be planning to destabilise the elections.
New Vision Editor-in-Chief Barbara Kaija, who prayed on behalf of the media, asked God to help the media do its job responsibly. "Teach us professionalism, arm us with skills. I pray for boldness so that we are able to tell the truth and be fair and balanced," she prayed.
The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, the Rt. Rev. Luke Orombi, said there was nothing that would come to fruit, without the mercy of God.
"We must hand over all these things to God in prayer. Let us make a Uganda where our children will grow in peace," he said in the closing prayer.
The prayers were attended by Speaker of Parliament Edward Ssekandi, Prime Minister Prof. Apolo Nsibambi, Leader of Opposition Prof. Ogenga Latigo, Cardinal Emmanuel Wamala and Orthodox leader Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga.