Kampala, Uganda

Top Anglican and Catholic bishops in Uganda have condemned men who have exploited female teenagers and impregnated them during the COVID-19 period. 

Uganda Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu III

Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu of the Anglican Church of Uganda.

The remarks were contained in their Christmas messages to Christians in the country. 

The Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Uganda, the Most Rev Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu observed that the rate of teenage pregnancies spiked during the pandemic and that it is unlikely that teenage mothers will get a chance to return to school next year. 

“The problem of teenage pregnancies has been exacerbated by male members of the families who rape and exploit the female members,” Archbishop Kaziimba noted.

Catholic bishops, under the Episcopal Conference of Uganda, echoed similar concerns. Their statement, signed by the Rt Rev Joseph Zziwa, the Bishop of Kiyinda-Mityana Diocese in central Uganda, condemned the people responsible for the sexual abuse of the young girls.

“Since the closure of schools almost two years ago, thousands of children have gotten pregnant or are married, meaning that some of them will miss the opportunity to continue with formal education,” Zziwa, who is also the chairman of the Episcopal Conference of Uganda, said, adding, “We condemn the people for abuse of children.”

He appealed to parents of the victims to not abandon them as is the culture is in many parts of the country, but rather to support and guide them during that difficult time. 



The Anglican Bishop of Kigezi Diocese in Western Uganda, George Bagamuhunda, also weighed in. He condemned the increasing acts of sexual immorality among the youth in Uganda. In his Christmas message, Bagamuhunda noted that if no urgent action is taken to reverse the trend, the country could experience a lot of social challenges in the near future. 

“There is need to guard our young children to desist acts of sexual immorality and resist free things. Many girls have lost their opportunities by being careless. Some have been impregnated while others have lost their lives,” he said.

The 2020 Uganda Police crimes report revealed that 14,220 children were raped in 2020. Of the 14,220, 14,080 were girls and 140 boys. Statistics at the Uganda Gender, Labour and Social Development Ministry, meanwhile, revealed that 9,000 underage girls were impregnated last year across the country.

The two reports do not explain the causes of the increasing cases of teenage pregnancies, but it is widely known that teenage girls are lured into sexual activities by men who promise them basic necessities of life such as sanitary pads and food which their families can’t provide because of the high levels of poverty in the country. 

Uganda’s primary and high schools have been closed since March, 2019, when COVID-19 first hit the country and are expected to reopen in January, 2022. During the lockdown, thousands of teenagers have been impregnated.  

Uganda Catholic bishops

Catholic Church bishops in Uganda arriving for a mass at the Uganda’s Martyrs Catholic Shrine, Namugongo, recently. PICTURE: John Semakula/File photo.

The prelates also condemned the ongoing murders involving innocent people along with terrorism and domestic violence in the country in their Christmas messages.

“We continue to witness wanton loss of life due to criminality (robbers, terrorism, mob justice, and rivalries), inadequate health care, and other ills,” Bishop Zziwa said. He implored all citizens to respect life, “for life is a gift from God".

“There is need to guard our young children to desist acts of sexual immorality and resist free things. Many girls have lost their opportunities by being careless. Some have been impregnated while others have lost their lives,” he said.

In the same vein, Archbishop Kaziimba also condemned violence, terrorism and the increased killing of people, including policemen. In the last month in central Uganda, unknown assailants killed four police officers before taking off with their guns. In November, terrorist group, the Allied Democratic Forces, conducted twin bombings in Kampala, killing three people and injuring 37 others.