So many things will be remembered about the legacy of Archbishop Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo.
But for me, as someone, who worked closely with him in my current job where he was the life patron, will be; “Mwana wange, bwoba wa kukola, kola na mmanyi ate mu bwangu.”
Unknown to me, when I chose to work with Send a Cow Uganda, I never knew he was the founder of the charity. Make no mistake, a founder not necessarily becomes the leader.
In 1988, together with such luminary names as Abraham Hadoto, Fred Katende, David Bragg, Robert Vere, David Hall, Anthony Bush and Gerald Addicort, with his wife Ruth, the Bishop of Mukono Diocese then conceptualised and actioned the idea of sending cows to Ugandan farmers in the stressed Luwero Triangle (first with Mukono, Luwero and Mityana) that were recovering from the civil war.
These people carried his idea of a Uganda free of poverty and malnutrition forward. He did not only offer moral and spiritual support.
He led from behind all the fundraising activities; sparing time and resources and bearing the cold weather of England soliciting for exotic cows from the dairy farms.
His wife Ruth offered the verandah and the tea for these discussions. When there was need for office space, she offered it at the Mother’s Union Offices.
Personally, in 1991 when the Church of Uganda was launching the “Decade of Evangelism” at Nakivubo Stadium, I was in attendance.
I was amazed at this Bishop breaking into song; “Ojj’omberere”. I had never seen any Bishop do this. As a youth leader at All Saints Cathedral, Nakasero in 1996, I invited him at our Youth Camp at Kazi Scouts Grounds. Again, even when Archbishop, he led us into the same song’ “Ojj’omberere”. In him, I saw a consistent man.
A year later, in 1997, I was one of the pioneer lecturers at Uganda Christian University, Mukono, a university associated with him.
If he had not pioneered the turning of Bishop Tucker Theological College into a university, I would not have gotten the opportunity of employment at the University.
As a patron at Send a Cow, I had a concentrated level of working with him, consulting him on many issues. I found him to be a man who kept records.
Send a Cow’s founding is chronicled in his latest book, which unfortunately, was awaiting publication. But more so, his wife Ruth was his immediate reference point. In fact, I found out that Maama Ruth was so deeply involved than him in pushing the work of Send a Cow forward since at the time, focus was on widowed women.
Again, in our interaction, I found him a very humorous man, kind-hearted; which sometimes was abused.
He was a Mukuza (trustee) of so many of his dead friends’ children. Because of his straight- forwardness and forthrightness, many wanted him to be a trustee, a responsibility that he found too important to refuse.
In the last five years, he informed us he was going to scale down on his involvement with Send a Cow but only coming for very important functions.
He asked us to look elsewhere for a patron as he was getting weaker; a responsibility we were slow at executing.
This year, as we mark 30 years, we will profoundly remember his vision that has transformed millions of lives in six other countries as Send a Cow has a footprint in Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, Lesotho and Zambia to see an that Africa is Confident and Thriving.
Patrick Sambaga is the country director of Send a Cow Uganda