Scott Douglas Jacobsen: In Uganda, you run a humanist primary school. What do you do there?
Robert Bwambale: I perform several roles at the primary school ranging from Administrative where I manage, direct the schools.
I do the Supervisory role to ensure everything at the schools is moving in the right direction, most of my close aides are the Head teachers at the schools. I do supervise construction projects to ensure all is done best, to ensure all the building materials are procured, used in their entirety.
I also do a planning role where I plan for the schools to ensure they are in line with our core values, government minimum standard.
I also do networking with like minded organizations and individuals both locally and internationally. I make correspondences of the schools with the international community.
I also do minor teaching on Humanism and offering drill lectures to my teachers about free thought and secularism.
In my write up here, I have mentioned schools because right now I run 3 nursery& primary schools namely:
Kasese Humanist Nursery & Primary school Rukoki
Kasese Humanist Nursery & Primary school, Bizoha Muhokya
Kahendero Humanist Nursery & Primary School
Jacobsen: For those in Canadian culture, what is something that they almost certainly would not know about Uganda and religion but should know about it?
Bwambale: Uganda is a highly religious country which has a combination of both foreign and indigenous religions.
Foreign religions dominate the local religions.
Uganda is a country which puts god high with its national motto saying “For God and my Country”
Uganda is a country where both state and religion is not separated, this is evident in courts of law, most public schools, hospitals and places of worship, everything done is a mix up of religion and politics all mingled up.
Religious leaders in Uganda are often looked as opinion leaders and are highly respected in our communities, this is because people assume they are more close to god or thought to be morally fit in everything.
Religions in Uganda are well known to be homophobic and tag homosexuality is an abomination and shows no respect to civil liberties, transgender, LGBT as wrong elements in society, by this our country has tried to enact barbaric laws that condemn same sex practices to the point of killing the gays or terminating them from society.
Religions in Uganda has denounced or shown no support for condom use, contraceptives usage, and child family planning services.
Religion is deeply rooted in Uganda schools, most schools around are connected to religious groupings, some owned by religious individuals and in these schools, there is the mandatory teaching of Religious education and what surprises most of us, only Christianity or Islam is the one on the school curriculum. This puts aside indigenous religions plus scores of religions worldwide unattended to.
In Uganda, Muslim religion has a monopoly of butchering animals in abattoirs’.
In Uganda, it’s where we have the Uganda martyrs who are devotees who decided to have their lives terminated for the sake of religion, they were killed on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga who was by then a Muslim and was against Christianity thriving on our soil. The martyrs were burnt at Namugongo and several other places around the country. June 3rd was set aside in Uganda to remember the martyrs.
In Uganda, it’s where we find several men and women of God as they call themselves and many of them have committed several crimes like the burning of believers in Kanungu, pedophile related cases by Reverend Fathers, conjugal affairs of church leaders with their flocks and the rampant child sacrifices geared by witch doctors who are con artists of modern times. The fact that majority of Ugandans believe in this and has made them victims of circumstance.
Jacobsen: How does religion influence politics there?
Bwambale: Religion influences politics to a high degree, most locals normally rely on what their religious leaders say and they go by that.
If one is of the dominant religions here say Christianity, there are high chances that locals will vote you in.
Most people vote in people basing on their religious lines or affiliations.
Religious leaders have been marked as whistle blowers of some or most politicians; they are so because it becomes easy for them to convince their congregations to support so and so.
Jacobsen: How prevalent as it is in there? As well, how strong is it as a coalition to fight for equality?
Bwambale: In our quest to fight for equality, we do face several challenges, the ground for equality is not leveled since there are a number of setbacks and this has been caused by several factors:
Homophobia is very high in Uganda; this does not respect minority human rights freedoms of certain individuals whose living is compromised.
Our cultures do still have conservative practices like favoring men to women to go to school, thinking men are heads of families, men are there to marry women and in most cases pay a dowry to the wife’s family, women should not work in offices but only keep in the kitchen.
Jacobsen: What are your hopes for atheism or lack of religion in general in Uganda in the next 10 years?
Bwambale: I think in the next ten years, a good percentage of Ugandans will have seen the light of the goodness of living a life free from spirits, angels, fables or mythical elements.
I have met scores of people who denounce believing in a higher power and looking at it as a scam or hoax but most of them still fear coming out of the closet due to fear of family ties, work connection or conditions in fear of excommunication from clans.
Most of my hopes are in the youths who form part of today’s generation for tomorrow, am glad that most of them welcome humanism, free thought and science and remain optimistic that these vices can help them understand better nature and its beauty, the world around them and what the world might hold for them in the near future.
This, however, calls for intensive enlightenment about Science and what humanity can do and cannot do. Educating the masses both young and old to have a learned and educated society will bring more people to learn who is lying to them and who is speaking the truth.
Our actions as people of non-belief matters a lot, I think we should try and be good and be exemplary in our works, work to the best we can, symbolize good ethics in society and try hard at bringing people from diverse background together, I think by this more people will go to our side and we get a shoot up in numbers in the next 10 years.