President Yoweri Museveni has said that it is not Christian-like for someone to be poor.
“Kyabukafiiri okubeera omwavu,” the President stated in Luganda (loosely translated as “it is unchristian for one to be poor) while addressing masses that turned up for Martyrs Day celebrations at Namugongo shrine.
The annual celebration takes place every 3rd of June in remembrance of those killed by Buganda King for their faith.
“Let me quote somewhere in the bible that we should shine before men. If Christians are poor and sick they cannot be good examples to others.”
He said there cannot be development in the country and when people stay poor in their homes.
“So we should work on household income as well,” he suggested.
About 67% of Ugandans are either poor or highly vulnerable to poverty, the expenditure review for Uganda 2012 by the Directorate of Social Protection in the gender ministry revealed.
The 67% represented both Ugandans who spend below the poverty line of $ 1.20 (about Shs 3,170) per day and those who are below twice the poverty line, $2.40 (about Shs 6,340) per day.
Museveni said government has developed a good working relationship with church leaders aimed at developing Namugongo and the surrounding areas.
Museveni appreciated Kampala Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga saying while in the past Uganda had a problem of people living in disunity because of religion, unity has been re-established and people now live in peace.
“I was very happy people were walking at anytime of the day coming to Namugongo without any disturbance.”
He promised the shrine would have permanent walk-ways.
He blamed local leaders for not promoting the site as an international tourism center, pledging to offer financial support to achieve this in the near future.
In addition to peace, the president said government will develop infrastructure for example electricity, roads because of the production costs in the economy that will attract more opportunities which will create jobs.
“We have a problem, some people want to increase salaries before infrastructure, power stations, roads. But I’m happy we have come to an understanding with your leaders.”
Museveni further noted that Uganda is on the verge of entering a middle class country.
Speaking on the event, other religious leaders including; the Papal Nuncio to Uganda Archbishop Michael Blume, Cardinal Emmanuel Wamala, Gulu Archbishop John Baptist Odama, Mbarara Archbishop Paul Bakyenga, Kampala Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, castigated corruption, selfishness and discrimination especially among those in positions of responsibility such as politicians, police officers, and civil servants.
Meanwhile, one pilgrim, Beatrice Birungi, fainted and died during the celebrations while over 3000 people were treated by the Uganda Red Cross Society due to suffocation and heat.