Hundreds of Christians in Lira City who attended the All Saints Obanga-Pewany fundraising ceremony on Sunday witnessed millions of shillings given, both in cash and pledges.
The ceremony was officiated by Lira City Mayor Sam Atul, who represented the Minister of Northern Uganda, Hon. Grace Freedom Kwiyocwiny.
The Minister for Northern Uganda pledged 100 bags of cement for the construction of the church, although she did not attend the function in person. According to Lira City Mayor Sam Atul, the Minister was engaged in Gulu with Acholi leaders on the issue of Balalo illegal pastoralists.
Jennifer Opio, a former mayoral contestant for Lira City East, represented the Minister for Gender, Labour, and Social Development, Hon. Betty Amongi, in the function. Jennifer, together with her two colleagues, Judith and Ayoo Jimmy, stated that Minister Amongi pledged 70 iron sheets worth 5.6 million shillings. The 70 iron sheets (mbati) can be collected anytime from Betty Amongi’s office as long as the church needs them, even tomorrow or next month, and promised to provide additional support for the Obanga-Pewany Church of Uganda.
Jennifer urged women who have taken out loans like Emyoga, PDM, among others, to repay them because all loans must be repaid.
Jennifer added that Minister Betty Amongi Akena is officially coming back to her original home in Lira City East Division in Lira City in December 2023. She added that Amongi will leave Oyam to come and stay in Lira City with all her belongings because she is a married woman whose home is officially known to be in Lira City East.
In a message delivered by Lira City Mayor Sam Atul, he said Reverend Canon Jacky Milton Otto Olima, the archdeacon of Lira Archdeaconry, stated that the ongoing fundraising will end on November 30, 2023, during the last week, and called upon both Hon. Betty Amongi and Akena Jimmy to physically visit the church in person.
Minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng Ocero, who also serves as the Lira City Woman MP, conveyed her message through Atul, saying the minister promised to contribute more if she returns. At the moment, Minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng is outside the country attending a meeting of the UN General Assembly but promised to contribute more for the development of the Church of Obanga-Pewany upon her return.
Mayor Sam Atul stated that at the moment, as the mayor, he has only three Members of Parliament representing Lira City in the 11th parliament, and they are the MPs for Lira City West, Lira City East, and the Woman MP for Lira City. He also requested them to come together and speak as one voice to unite the people of Lira City for the area’s development.
Atul said there are confusing and false messages circulating, which are misleading the public of Lira City, from some unnamed individuals, that Minister Dr. Jane Aceng said people should not repay loans. He refuted these claims as false and baseless allegations that do not hold water.
“I was there myself in the meeting, and it is not true that Minister Dr. Jane Aceng mentioned anything about not repaying loans, including Emyoga or PDM funds. Big No! She didn’t say anything like that,” added Mayor Atul.
Sam Atul suggested the promotion of religious tourism for Lira City, as it is the base of Christianity in Uganda. He then promised to donate 50,000 shillings to the Obanga-Pewany Church of Uganda monthly. Obanga-Pewany is located in Central Park Cell, Lira City, and approximately 108 million shillings are needed for the completion of the church, including roofing.