Self styled Pastor and former journalist Joseph Kabuleta has of late been on the airwaves were he has been very vocal against the proposed policy by government to regulate religious organizations in the country.
This comes after the Religious and Faith Based Organizations bill was withdrawn from the floor of parliament and recommendations made by government to have a regulatory organ over the institutions rather than the law.
The policy is to be overseen by the Ministry of Ethics under father Lokodo.
However government critics like Kabuleta argue that the move is aimed at gaining supervisory powers over the activities of religious institutions by government and that it is aimed at politicizing religious groups ahead of the 2021 elections.
Some of the regulations being proposed is for having all practitioners trained before they can partake in ministry. Traditional religions have always had long and intensive training programs and one wonders why some in the Pentecostal sect would be against such a move that would help rid of fraudsters. Kabuleta argues that some pastors in the trade are too old to go for training but this cannot be true. Someone fit to be a religious teacher should be able to undergo basic training.
The President also said that, “On the proposed policy to have all religious leaders undergo theological studies, we shall sit down with different religious leaders and biblically discuss the issue”.
Kabuleta also accuses the President of aiming to be a ‘deity’ by overseeing religious institutions. This is a clear attack on the Person of the President, something that Kabuleta has taken joy in over time. Such an accusation is basely and naive. The government has structures and responsibilities to oversee any such activities being run in it’s jurisdiction and religious institutions should not be above the law.
Kabuleta is also against pastors declaring sources of wealth, but ignores the fact that many churches give accountability of collections to their congregations and hence it would not create an extra layer of inconvenience to give this accountability to the government that is responsible for managing the country. Unregulated religious financing around the world has been blamed for financing of Terror activities and money laundering in many parts of the world and as thus it would only be prudent for any security conscious government to regulate such activities.
President Museveni duly concluded this debate by saying, “This is the foundation of the church. I don’t see the big issue here. Of course in the Church of Uganda and Catholic church, they would train people. However, we will thoroughly discuss this. Should we emphasize rituals and formalization or do we take advantage of God’s calling on people’s lives?
It is clear a section of religious figures have intentions to mislead their congregation and take advantage of their faith, however it is commendable that the government has chosen this moment to intervene and guide on the prevailing religious practices.