On Uganda’s Independence Anniversary, Catholic Bishops Highlight Challenges, Achievements

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On the occasion of Uganda's 60th independence anniversary marked on October 7, Catholic Bishops in the East African nation have highlighted challenges and achievements in the country over the last decade. 

In an October 8 statement obtained by ACI Africa, members of the Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC) say, “In the last ten years, our country has continued on a positive trajectory in many ways.”

Despite widespread secularization in the world, Uganda “has continued to be an oasis of faith”, Catholic Bishops in Uganda say.

On the economic front, UEC members say that the people of God in the East African nation "have continued to notice positive signs of growth".

"The government has continued to attract new investors in the country and more and more industries continue to crop up in the country,” they say, adding that there is a boost in the growth of various industrial parks and that the “song of value addition is being sung” everywhere in the nation.


“Agriculture, which is the backbone of our economy in the last ten years has seemed to be given center stage with focus on mechanization and adding value to our raw materials through the establishment of processing centers,” Catholic Bishops in Uganda further say in their statement signed by UEC Chairman, Bishop Joseph Antony Zziwa.

They go on to acknowledge achievements in other sectors of life that have shown progress, including the education, health and road infrastructure, and urge the government to do more to improve the areas.

Over the years, UEC members say, “a number of policy and legal frameworks aimed at ensuring equitable access to quality education services for all Ugandans at the various levels of Uganda's education cycle, have been put in place.”

Despite the policies and frameworks in the education sector, they say that the country’s education system “is still far from promoting a sense of national unity, self-reliance, social justice, equity, cultural values, and a sense of social responsibility for the desired national growth.”

The Catholic Church leaders express optimism in the new Abridged Curriculum, saying that it is set to ensure integral development of the youth for social transformation of the East African nation.

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In their October 8 statement, UEC members note the development in the health sector, saying, “Significant progress has been made in the health sector. Nonetheless, there are still many people who die from preventable diseases.”

The Catholic Bishops underline the need to address the gaps in the health sector, with women and children bearing the brunt.

On infrastructure, UEC members say, “While we appreciate the current road infrastructure, we believe that there is need for further development in this regard. There are limited roads, including connectivity in the rural areas.”

They also note the milestones in the energy sector and fault the use of wood for fuel, saying that it destroys the environment.

“Our energy has increased more than six-fold reaching 254 MW of installed capacity by December 2019,” the Catholic Church leaders say in reference to the country’s Electricity Regulation Authority (ERA, 2019).


They add, “The installation of large-scale hydropower dams has contributed significantly to the increased capacity, accounting for 80 percent of the total installed generation capacity in 2019.”

Despite the heavy investment in the energy sector, there is “limited access to electricity, with only 19 percent of the population using grid electricity”, UEC members say in reference to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS, 2019/2020).

They continue, “The need for clean energy for the growth of the country cannot be over emphasized as the use of wood for fuel has been destructive to the health of so many rural women and the environment.”

The Bishops note that the livelihoods of Ugandans is linked “directly to sound natural resource management,” and say that there is need for the “Natural resource management to be put at the center of our good governance and economic development.”

Catholic Bishops in Uganda also express concern about security in some areas of the country that involve insensible killings of innocent citizens.

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“We pray that human rights and dignity are respected more as we continue growing into a nation,” they say, and add, “Ugandans are yearning for peace, unity, transparency and prosperity. And to avoid our nation being stunted, freedom of speech and movement should be promoted.”

The Catholic Bishops that they find it regrettable that there are still setbacks in the country’s democracy, animated by social ills such as corruption.

“We also desired a thriving democracy and good governance. But we find ourselves concentrating on our differences rather than what unites us. We should focus on what can make us grow together as a nation. Responsible democracy and issue-based politics is the way to go,” they say.

UEC members add, “The expected moral standard and expertise of our leaders are clearly stipulated in our laws; this must be upheld by our leaders. Our aspiration is to attain transparent and accountable leadership at every level.”

They urge the government and the people of goodwill to keep focusing on “forging national unity and harmony” and “evolving democratic institutions and practices.”

“Guaranteeing fundamental human rights, creating national wealth; upholding and maintaining national independence and promoting moral and ethical values” are among the issues that Catholic Bishops in Uganda urge the government to focus on in the collective statement on the occasion of the 60th independence anniversary of the East African nation.

They also encourage the Yoweri Museveni-led government and the people of goodwill to focus on “preserving spiritual and cultural heritage and promoting feelings of humanitarianism and cooperation.”

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.