Rt. Hon. John Patrick Amama Mbabazi at the Opening of the 2nd Born-Again Faith National Leaders’ Convention
The Presiding Apostle
Our visiting Preacher; Dr. John Eckhardt,
The Bishops, Pastors, all people of God. Good morning.
I am honored to be here with you this morning at this Born Again Faith National Leaders Convention, the 2nd of its kind in Uganda. The principle or the headmaster of this school received me together with Dr. Serwadda and he asked me an intriguing question. He asked me are you Born Again? I answered him by another question. I asked him, where do you come from? I asked him, where do you come from? He’s from Tororo district. I asked him, are did you become a Jopadhola? And he said yes. I asked him, how did you become a Jopadhola? He said because my parents were Jopadhola. So, I answered his question by informing him about myself. My late mother and my late father were among the first people in our area to join the Balokole movement in 1934 and my mother died when she was 105, my father had died earlier when he was 100 years and they were; they died still Born Again. So, I didn’t ask Mr. Obbo this but at the end of this session I going to ask him, what does he think I am?
So it’s amazing to see so many of you here today as leaders of the BAF, which faith has truly taken root since the days of my parents. Indeed this could be likened I think to the famous parable in the Bible of the Mustard Seed which started as a tiny seed and thrived and you know the President used this title for his book to describe our struggle, into a huge tree that provided fruits and shade for all in need.
Of course you are experts on Born Again so I wouldn’t like to tell you where it came from but I think you should tell me may be. But I have an idea about where it started, when it started, the roots it has in slavery, did you know that? And, the fact that it has spread the world over. So the BAF has made tremendous lead to teach the present levels in these few years.
I have been told that this convention is designated among others for Balokole Pastors, church leaders to evaluate their calling in serving God. This is a very important decision you have taken to take stock of your previous activities at torch into the future. Socrates the father of Philosophy remarked once that: And I quote “an examined life is not worth living”. You have done well to examine what you have gone through and to prepare yourselves for posterity. We applaud the Born Again Churches for the new illumination that they have instilled into the hearts of the people of Uganda.
The genesis of the Born-Again Fraternity was marked by humble beginnings but your advent into the world of the faithful has had a remarkable impact in the lives of the people of Uganda, spiritually, socially and economically. You have been the champions of charity, healing, hope, solidarity and prosperity. People’s lives have been transformed through your healing ministries and charities. So, to answer Pastor Serwadda, I want to say government is profoundly grateful to the Born Again fraternity for playing a critical role in the socio – economic development of communities by setting up schools, health centers and income generating activities among many other ventures which in effect supplement government efforts in providing social services to the people of this country.
As government we are grateful for this contribution and we continue supporting such partnership to enable our people live fulfilling lives, hence the need for mutual co-existence and cooperation as a political leader in this country and one of those that were part of the process of evolving the policies of the government, we think your actions have absolved the position of the movement in taking the decision we took to recognize you as the pastor was saying. We don’t know. I don’t know. I should not speak for others. I am speaking for myself here. As a leader of the movement, I don’t know whether the common beliefs, the common practices that exists between us and you started with you or with us? Because you know the movement preaches unity. This is what we went to the bush to achieve the unity of our people and I am delighted today to be before a united force of Ugandans, united in the faith they hold, respecting diversity. Zino njiri zaffe. Eno njiri yaffe ya Movement temugimanyi? This has been our teaching to our people to be united, to respect our diversity because in our diversity lies the strength of this country. So I am very happy personally and I know I reflect the opinion of government and of course of the president that, we were right in according you recognition as a faith. So Pastor Serwadda made a passing reference to this. You have done wonderful work but of course there are quite a few isolated cases that feature once in a while within the faith. It is likely that such incidences which feature in the media are acts of deceptive pastors masquerading as men and women of God when they are actually pursing personal interests. This should not be unexpected in the church or in government for that matter. It is your responsibility as leaders to always make haste and disassociate yourselves from such characters who may distract the innocent faithful and lead them into temptation. But of course what is positive about this is that whenever you get many fraudsters in personality as pastors then know that your church is a very valuable one because counterfeits are made only in valuable commodities like Gold or Diamond. You know very well even those who make counterfeits. You know money.
In Uganda we have 100 thousand let’s talk of notes 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000. Those who make counterfeits of money, they counterfeit the bigger denominations not the smaller ones. As leaders, you have an obligation to direct your faithful into the right direction. I have made this point a number of times. We as leaders of the Movement have repeatedly made this point many times, that you as leaders are leaders of all. As peace makers and pacemakers it is important that you remain impartial in society. You can make comment on politics of course. I have no problem about that because I don’t see how, if you are a leader of people, you can avoid commenting on politics.
But in your comments, please, please, desist from crossing the neutral line so that you remain neutral, you remain relevant to all people of different political shades who come to you and in quotes “so that you are seen from the fruits of your bear”.
I as I said before, I have been, of course you all know, I have been in government fro a while now and so I have been part of the decisions that have been made that relate to the Born Again. And we have taken the position which Dr. Serwadda referred to, to recognize the well established Born Again Churches as we recognize the traditional churches. But we also know that there are those who come under the mask as churches when their intentions are different and that is the reason why we thought we should give them time, remember Kibwetere!
How many Ugandans, innocent Ugandans perished under Kibwetere under the guise of Christian crusade? We have a responsibility as a government to protect our people. So we would like to accord recognition to those that have demonstrated that they are indeed genuine and they represent what they teach.
I salute you for your firm stand in denouncing and condemning vices that have eroded the moral fabric of our society. Your resilience in disassociating yourselves from and denouncing these immoral acts will be the pillars to which your faithful will cling with trust and confidence. I would like to thank your leaders, your leadership for the great work they have done in promoting the church. I congratulate the Pastors, the women groups, the youth within the movement for the achievements you have registered in this short time, we as a government made it possible for you to play this role in Uganda which had been stifled by the state before.
I want to assure you that, obviously we have received this report from Pastor Serwadda and we will read it and share it with leaders in government and will obviously take cognizant of whatever you may have included and whatever you may be recommending.
I pray to the Almighty God to empower you the church leadership so that you can very firmly and strongly continue with the ministry of preaching the gospel of Christ to the people to the glory of God.
I, once again thank you for inviting me to be part of the congregation as we celebrate the 2nd Born Again Faith National Leadership Convention. I will be happy and it will be an honour to receive Mr. Eckhardt in my office or outside this meeting. We will talk about the times that are available. I am here. I had planned to go to the East but may be its God’s work that has now changed I will be in town.
May the Almighty God bless the works of your hands and the words of your mouths. God bless you.