Some faith leaders promote AIDS related deaths: Ugandan priest tells Malawi conference

Convener of the 2nd Global Race to Save Lives from HIV and AIDS – SAVE international conference, Rev. Canon Gideon Byamugisha has said despite the majority of faith leaders working towards eradication of the scourge, there were some faith leaders who were working in the promotion of the disease to kill people.

“We need to change this negative attitude and work together to stop any new infections and any new deaths caused by AIDS. We must honour and promote social justice,” said the preacher who lives positively with HIV and AIDS.

He said at the end of the global faith event taking place at the Bingu wa Mutharika International Conference Centre that like in any other campaign, just like was the case with apartheid in South Africa and racism against blacks in the USA, there are some faith leaders who speak in support of negative attitudes.

“We know the people in the faith realm that speak to promote that which is not good for the people. Some faith leaders spoke in support of apartheid and others in support of racism. We also have some faith leaders that have embarked on saying things to frustrate this good cause against HIV and AIDS whose goals we want achieved by 2020,” he charged.

Bishop Bvumbwe and Caono Dr. Gideon Byamugisha

Byamugisha, supported by Bishop Emeritus Bernard Malango at the closure of the week long discussions that included sharing of best practices to achieve the three zeros: zero new HIV and AIDS deaths; zero new infections; and zero stigma and discrimination; said there was need for the Malawian faith leaders and all local, regional, and global stakeholders to adopt a multi-sectoral approach.

“We know there are campaign saboteurs – those who come to such events and work to deter objectives, working to strategise how to defeat a good cause like this one; campaign enquirers – those who want to learn more from such gatherings; campaign full members – those that are committed to objectives and do everything in their power to contribute effectively and positively come what may.

“We also know there are campaign supporters – who despite not been part and parcel of the movement and not from the faith community in our case still believe in the beliefs of the campaign and support the movement. 2015 onwards this campaign will fully be global. When the car runs out of fuel, jump on a bicycle. No matter what let us meet the goal of this campaign,” he encouraged, thanking Bishop Brighton Malasa of the Anglican Church for ably chairing the host team in the Malawi Steering/Organising Committee.

The next international conference in three years time will be hosted by Rwanda’s capital, Kigali.

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