By Andrew Ssenyonga & Cynthia Aber
KAMPALA - Vice President Kiwanuka Ssekandi has told African churches to work with governments to ensure socio-economic transformation of Africa by placing emphasis on integration and unity of African people.
He made it clear that for the continent’s states to handle poverty, churches need to join governments in that fight.
“Government, through various interventions, is empowering every household to produce not only for subsistence, but have surplus for sale,” said the VP.
“I, therefore, wish to encourage all churches in Africa to start income-generating projects so that they are able to fund their activities.”
He pointed out that this is one way churches can be guaranteed spiritual independence and also be able to manage social outreach programmes like education and health.
In many countries across the continent, churches have been seen as playing a unifying factor for the people, and also complementing the role of governments in especially the education and health sectors.
Working closely with government in this regard, Ssekandi explained, would ensure the church’s role as a partner in Africa’s development process.
Ssekandi made the remarks on Wednesday during the official opening of the 10th All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) assembly at Speke Resort Munyonyo.
The assembly is set to end on June 8.
President Yoweri Museveni’s deputy made a direct call to Africa to rise and be set free from poverty.
“It is a calling upon Africans to exploit all the resources to the benefit of all. This is a calling to transform the continent’s accountability from donors to the electorate,” he said.
‘We cannot, however, just dream about the Africa we want to see. We must put in place tangible mechanisms that will enable us overcome the major obstacles to Africa’s development that include; lack of internal markets, poor infrastructure, insufficient energy and low skill levels.”
Another of his key points was that Uganda has been at the forefront of the creation of bigger markets and value-addition through advocacy for regional integration and industrialization.
“This will not only enable the citizenry to improve on their standard of living but will also guarantee that the people are able to support the church, in the face of decreasing external support,” came his emphasis.
A total of 810 participants including church delegates, observers, ecumenical partners, guests, youth stewards and staff are attending the assembly.
It is hosted by Ugandan churches, led by the Uganda Joint Christian Council.