The effect of religion on the political development of Uganda since 2000: a case study of Iganga District
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The study was aimed at investigating the effect of religion on political development of Uganda: a case study of Iganga District. The objectives of the study were: (i) To find out how religion has influenced leadership in Iganga District, (ii) to find out how religion has influenced political party affiliation in Iganga District, and (iii) to establish how religion has influenced state elections in Iganga District. The study employed a cross-sectional research design where both qualitative and quantitative research methods were used. The study used a self-administered questionnaire, which was administered to 270 respondent's notably religious leaders, opinion leaders, political leaders and traditional religious leaders. An interview guide was also prepared and administered to 10 top religious, political and opinion leaders. Research findings indicated that: Leaders appoint their religious henchmen into important posts; at the same time, people elect leaders of their religious faith. The findings showed that political party affiliation is not based along religious lines, and lastly, it was established that politicians enter places of worship and address followers on state elections. From the discussion of the findings, the following conclusions were made: 1. Leadership position is largely determined by religion. People find it comfortable to elect leaders of their religious faith. 2. It was established that Political party affiliation is not linked to religion only Traditional political parties: that is (UPC and DP) had a religious dimension. 3. Religious leaders and their institutions are turned into mobilization centers consequently influencing them politically, special gifts extended to them for example, iron sheets, bricks, and cement. Finally it was recommended that: Political leaders should not use religion as a stepping stone for political offices by exploiting the simple majority of followers of a certain religious sect over the other. The criterion for granting leadership positions should be on the basis of objective merit. Stakeholders (religious leaders and their congregations) should realize that religious centers are holy places for worship and not political grounds. They should therefore desist from activities which compromise with their religious ethics. that is campaigns or political gatherings should take place entirely out of the worship centers. they should not allow religion to be politicized. Religious leaders should try to unite people amidst of confusion and divisionism caused by politics. they should use religious teachings to remind followers to take their responsibilities against leaders who campaign basing on religious affiliation and materialistic gifts offered to them after prayers.