UGANDA: Recognize Clergy as Essential Workers, Anglican Archbishop Tells Government

KAMPALA, MAY 12, 2020 (CISA)-Anglican Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba has asked government to recognize the clergy as essential workers and allow them to continue offering pastoral guidance and psycho-social services to Ugandans as the government eases lockdown.

“If there is a sickness or death, clergy and lay readers are essential to providing community-based care, and should be respected by security personnel when they respond to such calls for prayer,” he said.

In his May 5 pastoral letter to bishops and clergy in the country he noted that the impact of lockdown has been much harder than the coronavirus pandemic.

“The need has increased because of the fear and uncertainty many are experiencing. I call upon government to recognise the clergy and lay readers as essential employees, to provide psycho-social services to Ugandans,” the Archbishop said.

Archbishop Kaziimba’s calls come in the wake of new measures announced by President Yoweri Museveni that allowed few lawyers, wholesale shops, hardware stores and garage in the first phase of easing the lockdown. Social places that gather large crowds remain closed.

“The additional two-week extension of the shutdown of transportation, however, will come as a big disappointment to many who were looking forward to lifting these restrictions on May 5. [However], we need to remember that it will give the Ministry of Health more time so they can accurately assess the extent of the virus in our communities. This was not an easy decision for the President, but we must willingly receive it so we can promote life and all its abundance,” he said.

As pertains Martyrs Day celebrations, the archbishop asked Anglicans mark the day in their homes further urging Anglican bishops to dedicate the first Sunday after the restriction is lifted to be a nation-wide general thanksgiving.

“Just like we celebrated Easter, we will also celebrate Martyrs Day at home. It is not possible for us to gather at Namugongo on June 3. Details of our special virtual observance will be shared over the coming weeks but begin preparing now to organise your family for this special remembrance,” Archbishop Kaziimba said.

He also urged Christians and families to desist from domestic violence asking the clergy to organize radio call-in programmes to give Christians an opportunity to ask questions and give advice.