Don’t delay marriage, Museveni tells youths

President Museveni and First lady Janet Museveni at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds during the Inter-Religious Family Festival at Kololo on June 29, 2024. PHOTO/PPU

Kampala, (UG):- President Yoweri Museveni has advised Ugandan young adults not to delay getting married saying this would enable a longer period of married life between them.

The President who was addressing the congregation during the family festival in Kampala on Saturday, June 29, cautioned against engaging in premarital sex saying the only way to reduce this ungodly practice is by getting married as soon as one finishes education and starts to work.

“When you finish your education, I encourage young people to get married; 22, 23 [years] there, the time has come [for you to get married]. Then you can get your family,” Mr Museveni told the crowd at Kololo, adding that premarital sex exposes one to sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS due to multiple sexual partners and liberty to do whatever they want at will.

Government figures at estimation indicate that young adults in Uganda are increasingly delaying marriage, with the median age at first marital union now at 25 years for men, a trend which reflects a global pattern where young people are waiting until their late 20s or early 30s to marry.

According to officials, factors such as a focus on career development, financial independence, and the normalisation of premarital sex contribute to this delay.

Mr Museveni also highlighted the essence of wealth creation for family prosperity. A family without wealth is like a ship without a compass. “We must also embrace the values of a traditional African family, which include fearing God, caring for the family members, creating wealth, producing and caring for children, respecting and obeying parents, and education while incorporating valuable aspects of modern religions to enrich our societal fabric,” he said.

The President re-echoed the government’s stand against homosexuality, saying it contradicts African values. “We are very firmly behind the family as a base of society. Those who are preaching the other line are definitely not right. We know about homosexuals and lesbians,” the President said.

The First Lady, Ms Janet Museveni, highlighted the impact of globalisation on family cultures in Africa and urged religious and cultural leaders to promote positive cultural and religious values to benefit the younger generation.

“I believe that through unity and oneness of purpose, Ugandans from every sphere of society can work together to reposition and redeem our rich African culture for the benefit of the younger generation,” she said.

The Archbishop of the Orthodox Church in Uganda, Mr Leronymos Muzeeyi, asked government to recover the ill-gotten wealth.

“We call upon the government to seriously think about implementing lifestyle audits of both private and public officials and enforce recovery of ill-gotten wealth. It is our belief that this will reduce corruption and make the government improve public service delivery,” he said.

The religious leaders also called upon the public to protect the environment, saying they intend to plant 250 million trees within 15 years. However, the Council said efforts to restore nature such as evictions in wetlands should be done humanely to reduce suffering to families.

“We call upon all Ugandans to embrace environmental protection and conservation and where Ugandans have fallen short, just like it has happened in the wetlands, we ask the law enforcers like the National Environment Management Authority to be humane as they restore those areas, particularly when they are evicting families,” the archbishop added.

Dr Hyun Jin Preston Moon, the founder and chairman of the Global Peace Foundation, while delivering the keynote address during the festival, applauded Uganda for upholding family values.

“I was told that here in Africa, you have recognised that marriage is between a man and woman, that is co-creating with God. That is the universal truth. We need to start a movement that sanctifies and glorifies the ideal of marriage, the ideal of family,” he said.

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