President Yoweri Museveni has challenged Ugandan communities that there can not be a successful fundraising drive for any developmental venture if the homesteads within the communities are poor and living in abject poverty.
“When the bishop invited me to come here for the church fundraising drive, I thought the church and community would contribute tremendously, which has not come true. I had prepared for a contribution of Shs.200 million for this ceremony but I am now prompted to raise Shs.400 million to reduce the load for refurbishing the house of the Lord. I appeal to the Christians to lead by example in the struggle to eradicate poverty at household level,” he said.
The President was this afternoon speaking during the launching of the grand fundraising ceremony for the renovation and expansion of the Uganda Martyrs’ Cathedral in Lira in preparation for the forthcoming celebrations of the Golden Jubilee of Lira Diocese in Lango Sub-Region, Northern Uganda.
The Cathedral that was constructed in 1968 will undergo general renovation and expansion using new and modern materials at an estimated cost of Shs.2 billion. The general refurbishment will see the Cathedral increase the seating capacity to 1,000 people up from 520.
Mr. Museveni, who kick-started the the fundraising drive by auctioning a heifer at Shs.10 million said that the concept of fundraising entails a combination of efforts one by one to accomplish a task financially. He, however, noted that if the exercise is organised in poor communities, the concept loses meaning resulting in calls for donors to help out.
“For the last 20 years, especially from 1995, NRM has been advising on the issue of household incomes,” he said.
He told the people of Lango sub region that the government has plans to set up a Presidential model farm on a four acre piece of land in Bar-Lege, Otuke district just like it has in Nakaseke and Mayuge districts, so that local farmers can appreciate that it is possible for a homestead to get rid of poverty.
Lira diocesan Bishop, Rt. Rev. Joseph Franzelli called on Christians in Lango Sub-Region to dedicate and renew their faith in preparation for celebrating the Golden Jubilee next year 2018. He called for unity and cooperation among the people of the Sub-Region. He said that that as God`s children of different denominations the people of the area should appreciate the church for her services to them in particular and Uganda as a whole in the past 50 years of the existence of Lira diocese. Bishop Franzelli, therefore, appealed to all people irrespective of their denominations to join hands and collaborate with Lara diocese to ensure that the project is a success.
The Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Hon. Betty Amongi, commended the Catholic Church for supporting the region in education and health sectors.