Bishop David Livingstone Kiganda, the senior Pastor and founder of Christianity Focus Ministries has embarked on a campaign for the resumption of public worship in Uganda.
He said that government has exactly 10 days to ease restrictions on places of worship after weeks of lockdown to contain the coronavirus.
“I want to declare that if 10 (ten) days will pass, without places of worship being opened, don’t expect to see me wearing suits. I’m going to go the bible way. I’m going to put on sackcloth until when Churches will be opened. I don’t know how many people will follow me to do that, if they do, that is their wish,” the Kingdom TV and radio proprietor said.
“I will put on sackcloth. I am going to read the book of lamentations only, and I will lament for this nation. I will be crying and repenting on behalf of this nation. And I know, many people will join this. I don’t see why I continue to put on suits when God’s house is closed,” he explained.
In March, government ordered the immediate closure of all places of worship and entertainment joints among other raft of measures aimed at containing the spread of the COVID-19 in the country.
Public transport, markets and other businesses were later allowed to operate on condition that the service providers adhere to safety measures including wearing of face masks, providing hand sanitizers, and ensuring social distancing.
Bishop Kiganda is not the only one who has called for the lifting on the ban of church gatherings. Many more are asking that churches be reopened but necessary health guidelines be applied.
“We thank God some of us we kept being on this pulpit. And many Pastors kept praying. And many people in their houses kept praying. And we fasted. The living God heard our prayers, Up till now, Uganda, which is very poor in medical services, has not lost even a cat to coronavirus. If that is not God, then who? Who can we talk about? I don’t want Kampala to land in wrath. I am already praying and fasting. I am also declaring a new fasting,” Bishop Kiganda said.
“I am praying that as soon as possible, this government should consider opening up places of worship, because the continued closure of places of worship is a direct indicator that God has done nothing. I don’t want God to perceive us that way. As soon as possible, God’s houses should be opened so that Ugandans who have been saved and who have survived this death, can break out into worship and thanks giving to the Almighty,” Bishop Kiganda continued.
What President Museveni said
In a debate that pits religious liberty against public-health concerns, President Museveni on 22 June, 2020 revealed during a televised address that places of worship are characterized what he called ‘risk profiles’.
The President said restriction on religious gatherings should be maintained and reevaluated in the last phase of lifting COVID-19 restrictions in the nation.
He maintained that due to closed indoor settings, churches are unable to enforce preventive measures like physical distancing.
“The various places of worship by nature attract persons irrespective of their nature, lifestyle and risk profile. Mitigation by use of masks, hand and cough hygiene may also be difficult to enforce especially in special religious ceremonies such as Holy Communion,” Mr Museveni asserted.
According to the President, contact tracing could be complex in the event of exposure of multiple people to COVID-19 since “there are no records or listing of congregants,” he said.