KAMPALA – The outspoken parish priest of Kitanga Catholic Parish in Kabale Diocese, Fr Gaetano Batanyenda, has urged the archbishop-elect of the Church of Uganda (CoU), Stephen Samuel Mugalu Kaziimba, not to bow to state intimidation in his evangelical work.
Kaziimba, who is the current Mityana Diocesan Bishop, was last week elected by the House of Bishops at CoU headquarters at Namirembe Cathedral in Kampala.
And now Fr Batanyenda said many religious leaders are often intimidated to silence, urging Kaziimba to be different.
“I was very happy when I heard that Kaziimba was elected Archbishop of the Church of Uganda. I didn’t know him but eventually knew him from the media. I want to pray that God protects him to serve his people without bending on one side. I have high hopes in him. I know that he will the voice of the voiceless; that he will speak for the oppressed and meet those in authority and advise them positively without fear or favour,” he told journalists in Mbarara on Wednesday.
In his speech after election, Kaziimba, 57, said he would uphold CoU’s mission and vision with a focus on holistic ministry to bring conversion of the head, heart and hand.
And Fr Batanyenda urged the new archbishop to beware of State interference.
“Make sure you have the courage to say no to state interference. If you do that, you know the consequence, of course. They will talk ill of you. They will castigate you; they might even kill you but you will not the first person to be killed. Archbishop Luwum was killed,” he said.
“I want to thank the retiring archbishop Henry Ntagali. He has done a wonderful job. I want to congratulate the Church of Uganda bishops for respecting age limits and I think it is one of the things that has brought peace in the church of Uganda.”
Bishop Kaziimba was elected the nineth Archbishop to replace Stanley Ntagali, who will be leaving after clocking 65 years, the mandatory retirement age for a prelate set in CoU Constitution.
The Dean of the CoU, Bishop Edison Irigei, said Bishop Kaziimba had more than two-thirds majority of the votes of the House of Bishops.
Kaziimba was consecrated bishop on October 26, 2008, and has served as the Bishop of Mityana Diocese for almost 11 years.