By Joyce Namutebi and Juliet Lukwago
Religious leaders who received jubilee medals have hailed the Government for recognising them while they are still alive.
Six of them are among the 3,500 people the Government awarded with the 50th Uganda Independence Medal in recognition of their outstanding service and loyalty to the country since independence.
The medal was launched in Kasese on Wednesday with President Yoweri Museveni receiving the first award during celebrations to mark NRM’s 27th anniversary.
The six are former Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo, Cardinal Emmanuel Wamala, the presiding apostle of the born-again Faith, Dr. Joseph Sserwadda, the director Sharia, Sheikh Rajab Kakoza, Archbishop Yonah Lwanga and Pastor John Kakembo.
Nkoyoyo, 75, in a telephone interview, said: “I am happy. Many times people remember someone when he is dead. God has called us to serve. We have to work for this country as if we are to last 1,000 years. We thank God for what he has enabled us to do.”
He thanked God for enabling the NRM Government to have a disciplined and a people-friendly army. Nkoyoyo also commended the Government for the prevailing freedom of speech and the fight against corruption.
President Yoweri Museveni poses with recipients and relatives of 50th Uganda Independence medalists during the NRM day celebrations in Kasese on January 30, 2013. PHOTO/Enock Kakande
Serwadda said: “The amazing experience for me about the ceremony was that I was named among the very first batch of the recipients of Uganda’s most prestigious Independence Jubilee Medal Award.
“I was placed amid very distinguished individuals who commanded great respect during their days and even those still living. To come anywhere near His Highness Charles Wesley Mumbere and Prof. Tumusiime Emmanuel Mutebile was even more humbling.
“I suddenly realised that the born-again faith has finally found position in the hearts of those charged with decision making in our society. The celebrations in Kasese have ushered in a new chapter in our history.”
Sheikh Kakoza said: “I am happy that the Government thought it fitting that I should be awarded and for appreciating what I have done. I pray to God that Uganda continues to prosper. I also pray that leaders who serve the people do so diligently.”
Cardinal Wamala said he was yet to receive official communication about the award.