Ethics and Integrity minister Hon Simon Lokodo Friday addressed the media on why Government of Uganda embarked on the National Policy on Religious and Faith organisations in 2016.
He said a highly consultative and analytical approach was adapted in the development of this policy.
“Countrywide and regional consultative meetings involving key stakeholders who practice faith and religion in this country were conducted,” Lokodo noted.
He said key stakeholder groups such as the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, Born Again Faith, National Fellowship of Born Again & Pentecostal churches, Evangelical fellowship of Uganda, Miracle Centre churches, Full Gospel Churches of Uganda; Anglican Church, Catholic Church, Muslim faith, Seventh Day Adventist, Orthodox church and other independent faith groups.
In addition, technical committee meetings were held between the Directorate for Ethics and Integrity and various Government regulatory agencies.
Whereas Article 29(1) (c) of the Constitution gives Ugandans freedom to practice any religion which includes right to belong and participate in the practice of any religious body or organization, government has never put in place a regulatory framework.
He said as a result, members of the public are facing a lot of challenges from some faith/religious organisations.
These challenges include; manipulation, exploitation of followers, loss of property, promotion of witchcraft instability in society etc.
Consequently, the state has no mechanism of vetting, monitoring and identifying the unethical faith practitioners in order to protect citizens from the harmful effects of these unethical religious practices.
“I wish to inform the country that at the moment there is no concrete policy document approved by government. What we have is a zero draft which is still under further consultations to reach a common ground.”
He added: “I wish therefore, to invite all stakeholders to join us in the debate and consultations to enable us come up with a harmonious position on how we can enjoy our freedom of worship as enshrined in our Constitution.”