The celebration of Christmas will have more meaning when leaders in Government and citizens alike abandon evils like theft of public funds, unnecessary fury and telling of lies.
"In Uganda we have a motto, for God and my country. If whatever we did and said we had God at heart, all these problems we have would not be there," Kampala Archdiocese Archbishop, Dr Cyprian Kizito Lwanga said in his Christmas homily at Rubaga Cathedral Tuesday morning.
"Stop the lies. Tell the truth. When angry, anger shouldn't make you sin," the prelate said. Referring to his Sunday visit to the Uganda Prisons in Luzira, the archbishop observed that many prisoners told him they are in jail because they were overcome by anger.
"The thieves should stop. I hear of many thieves these days: From chicken thieves to those who swindle public funds, stop it," Lwanga said in apparent reference to the many corruption scandals in the government.
The most recent ones are in the office of the Prime Minister where over sh50b in donor money meant for the rehabilitation of Northern Uganda was stolen in massive collusion by officials. Over Shs60 billion in pension funds was also swindled by officials who colluded to pay over 1000 'ghosts' (non-existent) beneficiaries.
However, the archbishop noted that sadness should not be harboured by anyone on this day as the feast is for both believers and non-believers for whom Jesus came to save; those happy and unhappy like prisoners. He said Jesus, born in a manger in Jerusalem, came to overthrow the devil and Christmas mirrors God's love for mankind.
"The joy of Christmas is shared by everybody; the rich, poor and prisoners. When I visited Luzira prison and talked about Jesus, the prisoners were happy and have hope that He will free them and they regain their freedom." "I told them the prisoners that all of us a potential prisoners but our turn has not come to be arrested," he added causing laughter.
Lwanga said the incarnation of God shows how man is a precious image of God. "But when there are scuffles, the way people are handled is as if they are animals," he observed.
The Vice President, Edward Sekandi, ministers Dr JC Muyingo (Higher Education), Fred Omach (General duties - Finance); the Katikkiro of Buganda Eng. J.B Walusimbi and soon to wed Buganda kingdom Prince David Kintu Wasajja attended the mass. Omach took the first reading while Buganda minister for Tourism, Florence Kiyingi took the second reading.
The Archbishop pointed out that the birth of Christ manifests reconciliation as God didn't crash man who had sinned but sent Prophets and a Messiah to save humanity. "He (God) created Adam and Eve, gave them freedom which they misused. He did not crash them but offered reconciliation. We should reconcile with each other. Our country is facing many problems because there is violence right from the families."
Sekandi thanked the Archbishop for an excellent sermon and said when religious leaders urge citizens to be peaceful they are helping Government in its mission of a peaceful country. "Government has stabilized the whole country and is engaged in various peace keeping mission in the region. We thank religious leaders for preaching peace. They are helping us to ensure peace is maintained," Sekandi said.
"We ask religious leaders to urge the youth to use the prevailing peace to work hard instead of stealing chicken. Peace starts in our hearts. As we search for peace we should not think we are independent. We need God's guidance," he added.
The Katikkiro of Buganda Walusimbi lamented the abject poverty in which most families in Buganda live in and urged the Kabaka's subjects to work harder in the New Year.
"Last night (Monday) I was watching Bukedde TV's Agataliiko nfuufu (news bulletin) and saw an elderly man of 70-years being caned by a security person reportedly because he had stolen a chicken. I exclaimed, have we sunk this low? Is this the Buganda I am leading? Let's heed the Kabaka's advice," the Katikkiro advised.
Walusimbi said he was happy to lead the entourage of Prince David Wasajja , the young brother of Kabaka Ronald Mutebi, when he was getting introduced to the family of his fiancée Marion Nankya, the daughter of DP Secretary General Mathias Nsubuga. "All went well and we look forward to the wedding," Walusimbi said to applause.
Later the Archbishop and the Rubaga Cathedral Foundation hosted dignitaries to a reception at the Archbishop's palace.