Census 2024: UBOS clarifies why ‘born again’ are not considered a religion

Census 2024: UBOS clarifies why 'born again' are not considered a religion
Chris Ndatira Mukiza, the Executive Director of UBOS.

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | The Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) continues to uphold its position of not categorizing Born-Again and Pentecostal Christians as an independent religion in the forthcoming National Population and Housing Census 2024.

According to UBOS, during the census enumeration, individuals identifying as Pentecostals will be recorded under the categories of Anglicans or Church of Uganda Christians.

Chris Mukiza, the Executive Director of UBOS, addressed this issue publicly yesterday, highlighting the ongoing debate and disagreement between the Pentecostal church leadership and the bureau.

“When we ask what your religion is, we cannot accept the born-again answer,” clarified Mr. Mukiza, pointing out that these are not recognized in Uganda’s law books.

“Already, we have some people who call themselves Born-again under the Church of Uganda, and we are also the other ones. So, what we are doing is, we are going to lump them together as Anglicans because the Pentecostals are not a religion… they are simply a faith,” Mr. Mukiza said.

In recent days, leaders of the Born-Again church in Uganda have criticized UBOS for what they perceive as sidelining their significant portion of the national population.

Expressing bewilderment, these leaders question why their group is excluded when the census includes categories for other groups such as traditionalists and atheists.

Pastor Joseph Serwadda, the head of the Born-Again faiths in the country, pointed out that their followership represents the fastest-growing religious denomination in Uganda and possesses multifaceted dimensions deserving recognition.

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“For instance, we have amongst ourselves the Baptists, the Presbyterians, the Lutherans, Mennonites and others. These are things that you are not going to explain to an ordinary enumerator, and they understand,” he said.

However, Serwadda urged born-again believers to cooperate with the enumerators and provide them with accurate information.

“When answering their questions, do not hold back. These are not policemen, they are not politicians; they are not there to harm you,” Serwadda added.