Responding to an appeal by the Seventh-day Adventist Church president to abolish Saturday exams, Uganda’s leader announced that he would take steps to accommodate the convictions of Adventist students — and also those of Sunday-keeping Christians and Muslims.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni tweeted the announcement on Feb. 17, a day after hosting church leader Ted N.C. Wilson for an official visit-turned-Bible study at his state residence in Entebbe outside the capital, Kampala.
“I thank Pastor Wilson for visiting Uganda,” Museveni wrote on Twitter. “I commend members of the SDA community in Uganda for their discipline. We shall consider the church’s request about our education institutions not conducting examinations on Saturday.”
He added: “We shall also look at the interests of other Christian denominations that need to be freed from school examinations on Sundays and also for the Muslim community on Fridays.”
Ugandan media interpreted Museveni’s remarks as a done deal. “President Museveni Agrees to Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Request to Cancel Saturday School Exams,” read a headline on the website of the NTV television channel.
Local Adventist Church leaders applauded the surprise development.
“This is exciting! Many people have suffered,” said Daniel Matte, president of the Adventist Church in Uganda, whose own son had to repeat a three-year state university course in agriculture after exams fell on Saturday.
“This is more than we desired,” said Blasious Ruguri, president of the Adventist Church’s East-Central Africa Division, whose territory includes Uganda. “Everybody is being blessed.”
A Warm Welcome
Museveni, wearing a green military uniform and black boots, set aside the formality that usually dominates visits with foreign guests to warmly welcome Wilson; his wife, Nancy; Matte; Ruguri; and a delegation of leaders from other countries of the East-Central Africa Division on Feb. 16.