On 9th October this year Uganda will mark its 49th year of existence as a nation and next year, 2012 we will mark our 50th year â€“ our Golden Jubilee.
The last 49 years have had much that we need to thank God for as a nation, some of which are:
- Our population has grown five fold from 6.5 million at the time of independence to the 34.6 million that we are today according to the July 2011 estimate
- Economically, our economy contracted in the 1970s but it has been growing again in more recent times though we have not yet attained economic independence and continue to depend on the “goodwill” of other nations to survive
- Socially, though we have been through times of insecurity, oppressive rule and even civil war, we are now at a time when internal civil strife has ceased and we are at peace with our neighbors
- The Church in the nation has grown in number despite undergoing a time of intense persecution under Idi Amin during which many believers and church leaders including the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda were murdered
- Our profile in the community of nations has grown to the level where we are making increasingly useful contributions to the international community.
- According to the World Bank Country Brief on Uganda, with the proportion of people living in poverty at 25 percent in 2009/10, Uganda has surpassed the 2015 Millennium Development Goal of halving the 56 percent poverty rate recorded in 1992/93. The household survey conducted by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics and published in 20101, estimated that 24.5 percent of Ugandans are poor, corresponding to nearly 7.5 million persons in 1.2 million households. These Ugandans live in households that spend less than what is necessary to meet their caloric requirements and to afford them a mark-up for non-food needs. Despite this, there has been an improvement in the poverty situation in the country.
There was a time in the late 1970s and early 1980s when Uganda was referred to as, “The Land God Forgot”. With the advantage of hindsight, we can now say that God remembered us.
On the other hand, there is much that has happened in our beloved land in the last 49 years that has brought shame to us as a nation. Despite a recorded Christian population of 84% in the last census (2002), in recent years we have experienced a revival in the worship of the ancient gods that our tribes and clans subscribed to before the advent of Christianity. Related to this has been the upsurge in abominable practices like witchcraft and human sacrifice. Any people that set themselves on this path are headed on a collusion course with the God of the Bible.
Much bloodshed has also been shed in the soil of our beloved country. The civil unrest in the 1960s, the brutal regime of Idi Amin and the war that led to his deposal in the 1970s, the civil war that centered in the Luwero triangle and subsequently engulfed the entire nation in the early 1980s, the Lakwena/Kony rebellion in the north from the late 1980s until fairly recently, have all contributed to the pool of innocent blood that has been shed in our land. From the teachings of scripture, innocent blood brings defilement on the land.
We have also been brought into disgrace by matters related to morality. The scourge of HIV/AIDS hit our nation hard in the 1990s and in our case the main route of its spread was through heterosexual relationships. Thanks to good leadership and behaviour change, that pandemic was brought under some control. However, we are witnessing a rise in HIV incidence once again mainly because of growing laxity in matters of morality and more so among married couples.
Our country continues to be riddled with rampant corruption. Though corruption takes place quietly and is not as shocking as say when a murder takes place, its impact is much worse.
The vices mentioned above have occurred despite a recorded Christian population of 84% according to the 2002 census. One major key that the scriptures give us for the healing of any nation is if God’s people, called by his name will humble themselves, pray, seek His face and turn from their wicked ways. He then promises to hear from heaven, forgive their sins and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Marking our national Jubilee provides an opportune time for us to return to the Lord. The themes of the jubilee season in accordance with Leviticus 25 are:
- Family Reunion,
- Debt release
- Economic emancipation and finally,
- Rest, Restoration and a chance to reset the clock and start again.
As we approach the gate of our 49th year, the leaders present here are calling on Christians to consecrate 40 days beginning on Tuesday, 30th August 2011 and leading up to Independence eve, 8th October 2011 as a time for thanksgiving and humbling ourselves before God in reflection, reminiscence, prayer, fasting, repentance and returning to the Lord. During this time we will focus on the major vices that have troubled our land over the last 49 years.
In June 2006, the 8th Parliament approved a motion urging the declaration of Independence eve, 8th October as a National Day of Prayer. This year it falls on a Saturday and we will be marked as a day of prayer, fasting, repentance and dedicating the 49th year of our nation as a year for returning to the Lord. During the course of 49th year, there will be programs arranged related to the themes of the Jubilee season.
Next year 2012, there will be further programs unveiled to welcome our national year of Jubilee. A prayer guide to help individuals and groups pray through the 40 days is being finalized and can be available by contacting [email protected] or phone 0759 867378, to be included in message updates. It will also be available on the website which is under construction.
Dr. James Magara
Chairman, Steering Committee