By Cecilia Okoth
When COVID-19 struck Uganda in March 2020, the institution of marriage was put to test.
Cases of domestic violence, sexual offences, and in worst-case scenarios, death resulting from conflict were a common occurrence.
Some experts described this as a silent pandemic within the COVID-19 pandemic.
A marriage conference, first of its kind and organised by the Bible Society of Uganda, is set to address many of the challenges couples face in marriage today.
These among them include; communication with one another, resolving marital conflicts and life in the Christian home as well as raising children.
“COVID-19 brought a lot of consequences in the marriage institution. As church leaders, we found it very difficult to work with families because they were totally disintegrated,” said Rev Can Dr Rebecca Nyegenye, the provost at the All Saints Cathedral Nakasero.
Nyegenye, who is also the vice-president of the Bible Society of Uganda, was speaking to journalists during a media briefing on the upcoming Marriage conference scheduled to take place this Friday and Saturday (July 22 and 23, 2022).
“Marriages are suffering. It even gets worse when people look at their social status and cannot be able to talk about what has gone wrong in their marriages. Some children got into drugs, alcohol, and incest,” she said adding that the conference provides an avenue for reconciliation, hope and re-education.
Supreme Court Judge Mike Chibita, who also heads the Bible Society of Uganda, said the solution to marital problems largely rests on one’s heart and that no amount of laws in place can resolve them.
Instead, he said, people should learn to live together.
“I met an old man who said in the 1960s there were very few laws and very little crime. He said the more laws you make; the more crimes are committed. I relate that to the marriage and divorce act and succession law. These laws are not the ones that solve the problem of marriage. It is the human heart, and we are going to try to address that,” Chibita said.
Paul Bosson, the executive vice-president Clarion Trust International, said the target audience for the conference includes senior influential people in Uganda, among them, politicians, the judiciary, religious leaders, and senior businessmen.
These, he added, will demonstrate and set an example to people that look up to them.
The conference, according to Bosson, will also hold a session on the care for vulnerable children.
“Many children are vulnerable because of the breakdown of marriages or the lack of Christian marriage. So, by addressing Christian marriage, we want to address the core, basics of Ugandan society and culture,” he said.
The Archbishop of Kampala Archdiocese, Paul Ssemogerere, is expected to open the conference on Friday, while Mrs Janet Museveni, the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports will close it on Saturday.