National Prayers for Uganda's 2016 elections held

Oct 5, 2015

Ms. Almaz Gebru, the UNDP Country Director addressing the congregation at the National Prayers for the 2016 elections at the Kololo Ceremonial Grounds (Photo credit: UNDPUganda2015).

Kampala - Uganda held its first national prayers for the 2016 elections.

The prayers which were held at the Kololo Independence Grounds were organised by the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda attracted religious leaders from every faith and various stakeholders including government officials, development partners, members of the electoral commission and the general public.

We are here to pray for a peaceful election and thank God for 53 years of independence for the country,” Bishop Joshua Lwere the General Overseer of the National Fellowship of the Pentecostal and Evangelical Association in Uganda

He added that this was not a new thing, as such convocations were held by Old Testament kings in times of thanksgiving and also in times of war, election time in Uganda is no different.

“We therefore want to commit the tremendous work of elections to God so that we can have a peaceful election season,” Lwere said.

Bishop Kakembo who delivered the day’s sermon focused on love, calling in Ugandans to love each other as called to by God, saying this would be the remedy for peaceful election.

In their benedictions, the leaders from the Christian, Muslim, Bahai and Hindu communities prayed for the candidates, the voters, various groups including women, children and the youth.

Archbishop Ntagali of the Uganda Anglican Communion called on politicians not to bribe voters, incite violence or hold voters to their personal desires. He advised that they need to display a high level of statesmanship so that they can be able to lead this country to prosperity. He also called on believers to pray that God would provide the right leaders for the country.

The prayers were attended by a host of party leaders including the President H.E Yoweri Museveni, who is also the leader of the National Resistance Movement (NRM), Gen. Mugisha Muntu, leader of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and Beti Kamya, the leader of the Federal Alliance.

President Museveni guaranteed that the country would have peaceful elections because the government had set in place strong security and legislation systems which provide avenues for aggrieved parties to report to incase of violence and legal grievances. He called on citizens to make use of these mechanisms by reporting those incite any violence or try to bribe voters.

The prayers were organised with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as part of Peace Architecture Project which also supported the televised debate of the FDC Presidential debates and the launch of the Elders Forum of Uganda (TEFU).

“As the Country prepares to enter into the election season, the UN, is pleased to support the National Prayer for the 2016 Peaceful Election, as a means of strengthening preventive mechanisms to avert open conflict, especially electoral related violence, in the lead-up to, during and after the elections,” Ms. Almaz Gebru, UNDP’s Country Director said while delivering remarks on behalf of the UN Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative’s, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa- Onochie.

She added that we could not talk about development without peace and called on all political players to promote peace and inclusive societies for sustainable development as highlighted in the newly launched global Sustainable Development Goals.

Ms. Gebru said that the UN would remain a partner to the government of Uganda in building lasting peace and stability in the country through continuous efforts and collaboration in developing a Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention arrangement, to nurture inclusive governance as identified in Uganda’s vision 2040.

The Peace Architecture project will support more discussions including multi-party debates to ensure peaceful dialogue of political players and citizens as we head into the election season.

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