By Ivan Tsebeni
Uganda’s First Lady Janet K. Museveni has asked parents to be responsible and nurture their children to love God, arguing that such a move will reduce crimes in the country.
Mrs. Museveni, also Minister of Education and Sports, said many parents do not want to take responsibility for their children. She has called for more parenting seminars “so that we can let them know that educating their children is a shared responsibility.”
During a recent virtual public lecture held at Uganda Christian University (UCU)’s Principal’s Hall, Mrs. Museveni urged listeners to make God’s word the foundation of their lives when it comes to issues of the family.
Parenting in Uganda has faced challenges, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, where many schools have been shut since March 2020, with the exception of the months of March to May 2021 (when upper primary, secondary and tertiary institutions were open).
According to Mrs. Museveni, because of deficient parental support during the lockdown, some children have been exploited by “wrong people” and now parents are blaming the government. Different studies during the lockdown in Uganda have revealed an increase in the number of children who have been sexually abused during the lockdown.
During a televised address in September 2021, President Museveni announced that primary and secondary schools would reopen in January 2022 for in-person learning. Already, universities and tertiary schools were opened for in-person learning on November 1, 2021.
In March 2020, Uganda closed schools for in-person learning to reduce the rate of the spread of the coronavirus. The shutdown on schools for in-person learning was lifted in March 2021, but reinstated three months later, after a spike in the number of infections had increased by 137%.
During the virtual lecture held under the theme “Christian family in the postmodern era,” Justice Catherine Bamugemereire of Uganda’s Court of Appeal noted that the process of nurturing good children is under threat because marriages are increasingly becoming unsustainable in Uganda.
Bamugemereire said when she joined the Family Division of the High Court in 2013, before moving to the Court of Appeal, she found 50 divorce cases that had been filed. She noted, however, that the number of divorce cases being reported has almost tripled now.
Bamugemereire, who was the guest speaker, noted that one of the adverse effects of social media is people constantly looking up to celebrities for marriage advice, which has put many families on a slippery path because some of the celebrities also have challenges in their marriages.
UCU Vice Chancellor Assoc. Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi advised Christians to stick to one wife
and husband for better and strong families as stated in Genesis 2:24.
The Dean of the UCU School of Dentistry,
Dr. James Magara re-echoed Justice Bamugemereire’s view on raising children.
“In homes today, both parents are now working,” he said. Regardless of how busy you are… raise your children deliberately, find out what they are up to, it may be a difficult time but you will overcome it.”
Magara asked parents not to let schools and the Government take over the responsibility of raising up their children.
“Education is more about the family’s role than the state,” he said.