The Statehouse Thanksgiving Day comes once after every year and on Friday, December 9, 2016 is when the latest version of the event was held in Entebbe.
This ceremony had hitherto been hosted by the President and First Lady but merely as a Statehouse affair, notwithstanding the crème de la crème of the country’s most erudite men and women who grace the occasion every year.
What changed on Friday is the heralding of this prayer meeting into the larger public domain, even with a live relay of pictures on national TV. This has given it new levels of grandeur – not only as apparent in the event’s glitzy proximity but also in grace and historical significance of the eloquence that came forth.
This year’s main speaker was the Presiding Apostle of the Born Again faith, Dr. Joseph Sserwadda who spoke with such slickness and fervency as only a preacher of his spirit and astuteness could. He directly addressed the President yet aptly engaging the sea of eyes that looked up to him for fresh wine, as it were and edification.
He began by appreciating the Prime Minister of Uganda, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda and his deputy, Hon. Kirunda Kivejinja for what, he pointed out, was an outstanding role they played to follow through the Presidential Directive to legitimatize the faith of the Born Again Christians as a duly recognized faith in Uganda.
Quoting from the Book of Samuel, Chapter 16, Dr. Sserwadda ventured to draw parallels between the leadership style and disposition of President Museveni and King David’s who beside adversity, managed to reign so successfully; defeating rebellions, surviving assassinations, restoring the dignity of the people he led, moreover continually giving allegiance to God.
Dr. Sserwadda spoke of this as stunningly too reminiscent of President Museveni and he systematically chronicled events in Uganda’s history with such amazing similarity to those in the times of David – a king who could never be flashed out or voted out because he had been handpicked by God and equipped/anointed so to shepherd his people through the tumultuous times.
Owing to all this, Dr. Sserwadda surmised that a thanksgiving event was only befitting and David would have done the same thing with dancing and singing psalms to the Lord. Dr. Sserwadda had been the choice of First Lady, Janet Museveni and indeed, she was not disappointed. Dr. Sserwadda was in the company of his wife, Freda and his daughter, Hanna.
When the main speaker had wrapped up his message, the First Lady crowned up the session with a drawn-out intercession for the nation’s peace and prosperity.
As the sun went down, the president gave his remarks which fit in well with the event’s thanksgiving theme, even though he veered off, at least to address the lingering dry spell that has eclipsed Uganda for the greater part of the year.
President’s Remarks Verbatim
If you read the book I wrote recently, “The Mustard Seed”, you will see that I have known God directly and I thank Him for His guidance and support.
There’s unprecedented peace today. When I hear some people in Uganda talk of no peace, I get amazed. Of course we don’t allow some people to disturb the freedom of others. However this should be used carefully.
In Kenya, bars are not open till a certain time but here they are open every time. Homemade brews are not allowed in Kenya but allowed in Uganda. Now they are getting a problem of people leaving Kenya to live here to enjoy that freedom, which is not good too.
Leaders should sensitize people on excessive freedom. You heard the scripture say it’s more blessed to lend than to borrow. How shall we lend when we are not working hard? Hard work should be mandate for all religious people.
We never allowed religious groups in the army when we came from the Bush. This has bred the culture of religious groups working together.
When you see other countries, like Syria, Iraq with Sunnis versus Christians…that’s what used to happen in Uganda here allegedly on behalf of God.
God says love your neighbor as yourself and made man in His own image, so who are you not to respect human beings? That is nonsense!
That disorientation should be rejected in Africa. We cannot allow it here. This is the land of Africans, we should live together. I thank the Inter-religious Council for being all embracing of religions.
About the weather, we have had a little problem of little rain. We are having serious discussion in government and we have to find ways of not depending on rain.
We are introducing irrigation and will use solar pumps. Those with money should buy the pumps, the government will see how to assist those without money.
We also want to talk nicely to those living in wetlands to leave them. We shall use dialogue though wetlands belong to the government.
I congratulate you on nearly finishing the year 2016 and I wish you a prosperous 2017.
The event was an interreligious affair and justifiably, it was hither and thither with interludes of presentations of various choirs and performers from all religions in Uganda.
Among the guests that attended were the Vice President, Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, men and women in Uniform, a posse of civil and public servants, plus members of the diplomatic core.