Barracks Mosques, Churches to Return

Masaka, Uganda - President Yoweri Museveni may re-allow churches, mosques and preaching in army barracks now that different sects are working together.

He said he slapped the ban because he did not want religious leaders to take the "poison" of divisionism to the soldiers.

Officiating at a fundraising drive for the renovation of the Masaka Main Mosque on Sunday, Museveni said he was happy that religious leaders were working together.

He promised to review the ban. "After the bush war, I rejected appeals from religious leaders to build churches and mosques in barracks. But if we go on like this, I can reconsider this issue. I did not want to bring the poison you had planted in the civilians into the soldiers," he said.

The fundraising drive was also for the completion of a sh1.1b commercial building for the Muslim community.

About sh29.6m was raised. Museveni donated sh10m and auctioned cows for sh9m.

Museveni said he was happy to see the Mufti, Sheikh Shaban Mubajje, the district Kadi, Sheikh Huzairu Kiruuta and bishops John Baptist Kaggwa of Masaka Diocese and Dr. Keefa Ssemakula of West Buganda, seated and working together.

"It is good that you ended the practice of dividing our people on religious grounds. I am happy because this is Jesus' gospel. He never told us to divide people.

Even Prophet Muhammad never told people to get divided," he said.

He said those who encouraged people to get divided were preaching a satanic message.

Museveni said when he joined politics, he vowed to end religious discrimination because politics was supposed to unite people.

He said the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar Gaddafi, had donated him a Koran which he had not got time to read.

"False prophets had tried to divide people through the gospel. Though I am an 'LDU' (amateur) in religion, an enemy of religion cannot survive me," he said.

The function picked momentum when the famous matali singer, Caliph Sulaiman Lwanga, presented a kisanja song, urging Museveni not to 'abandon' his people but stand in the 2006 elections.

The song excited Movement supporters who jumped up and chanted Museveni's praises. He waved back.

Lwanga said Muslims had endorsed Museveni for another term and thanked Museveni for giving him a car.

Arms and Military Affairs

Ministers Kibirige Ssebunya, Kezimbira Miyingo and MPs, businessmen and Movement chiefs attended.

Former finance minister Gerald Ssendaula presided over the event.