, 20 December, 2019 / 1:56 AM
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has cautioned youth drawn from various faith groups at a Catholic conference in the landlocked East African country against indulging in sex before marriage and to avoid the consumption of alcohol for such behaviors affect one’s life span and productivity.
“I know the Church has engaged these youths on spiritual matters, but they need to know more about sexuality. I started the patriotism clubs in schools targeting behavioral change,” President Museveni told close to 5,000 Catholic youth from 19 dioceses in the country who gathered for the closing Mass of the National Youth Conference (NYC) Saturday, December 14.
“If you don’t know how to control your body, it is very dangerous. You get a death sentence. You do things which you will regret the rest of your life –if you survive,” the President cautioned the young people during the conclusion of the five-day event organized in Uganda’s Kasana Luweero Diocese under the theme, “I am the servant of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word.”
“An orphan is faced by social problems, a teenager on the other hand, becomes a problem as he/she has matured and become sexually active,” the President stated during the gathering.
The annual conference attracted both Catholic and non-Catholic youth from Uganda and other foreign Countries who discussed issues on youth daily experiences, achievements, talents, aspirations, dreams and challenges on their journey of faith and human development.
The Head of State expressed gratitude to the Church for helping the youth to navigate through their adolescent age saying, “I want to thank the authorities of the Church for seeing the wisdom of interacting with the youth. This is because being a youth is very dangerous.”
President Museveni noted that the reason he was laying emphasis on health issues is because being healthy is a good thing that enables one to do a lot of things in life.
“I also believe that His Lordship Bishop Semogerere told you how we fought in Luweero to liberate Uganda,” the President recalled his past and added, “We would not have been able to do this if we had put to waste our youthful age. I am now 75 years, but my health is fine.’’
The President also advised the youth not to drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes as both items can pose a great danger to their health.
“Alcohol and drug abuse will interfere with your life and productivity. I know youths like drinking but they should stop for the good of their future,” he said.
The host of the national conference, Bishop Paul Ssemogerere of Kasana-Luweero said that the conference was in line with the Pope Francis’ message that “directs all bishops to guide young people on how to deal with the new life challenges and live a better life.”
“The diocese has earmarked 20 acres of land for the youth of Luweero to use for skilling schemes to which President Museveni later donated US$27,000.00 to support their projects,” Bishop Ssemwogerere disclosed.
The Apostolic Nuncio in Uganda, Archbishop Luigi Bianco thanked President Museveni for honoring their invitation adding that the youth are the present and the future of the Church and nation.
“The youth are energetic and should be able to serve the Church. You (Youth) are being groomed on how to witness for Christ and become missionaries,” the Papal Nuncio said.
Uganda’s Soroti Diocese is expected to host the 2020 National Youth Conference.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa