My last eight years as Bishop of Ankole Diocese have been one of the most exciting and exhausting.
Although as a bishop, I exercise pastoral and administrative oversight, the role of a Diocesan Secretary, who is a registrar and key administrator of a diocese, is critical.
Ankole Diocese covers administrative districts of Mbarara, Isingiro and part of Ntungamo and has a population of about 292,020 Anglicans, according to the census results of 2014.
Chief executive officers of companies can only be successful in realising the business goals if they have strong members in leadership positions below them.
One such leader has been the Rev Canon Godfrey Ngabirano, who recently retired as the Diocesan Secretary of Ankole Diocese after clocking the mandatory age of 65 in church service.
He led a strong team of more than 7,000 workers in the different diocesan departments. Under his stewardship, Ankole Diocese has distinguished itself in effective service delivery and many dioceses have visited it as a model.
The Rev Can Ngabirano was strict on protocol, procedure and policy, an affirmation of the catch phrase of his leadership style. Before retirement, he had facilitated publication of the diocesan 10-year strategic plan with Diocesan Human Resource Manual, among others, and ensured every transaction adhered to the laid down procedure.
One of the most successful programmes that Ankole Diocese has run is the Compassion International-aided projects, which have achieved an enrolment of 2,679 needy children, who receive funding of about Shs2.6 billion annually.
The Mbarara–Ntungamo cluster, which until recently covered the nine projects of Ankole Diocese, was ranked number one in 2017 out of the 263 projects countrywide, leading in communication flow and reporting and use of complementary intervention funds in projects that support needy children.
With the introduction of employing professional accounts assistants in nearly all parishes, ‘a pioneer innovation in Church of Uganda, church funds have been well managed.
Three weeks ago, a Shs2b pension commercial and housing project was commissioned at Kyapotani in Kakoba at a site bought in 2012 at Shs80m. The prized land is now valued at about Shs600m. During the administrative guidance of the Rev Can Ngabirano, Ankole Diocese strengthened its income generation capacity through construction of Ankole Diocese Golden Jubilee commercial building in Mbarara Town on Buchunku Road.
Coupled with the Church Community Centre complex on Mbaguta Street and St Luke’s Building on Bananuka Drive in the centre of town and the three undeveloped plots on Akiiki Nyabongo Road in Mbarara, the flagship projects are expected to bring in an income of about Shs272m per year.
Co-ordination of educational institutions, which comprise secondary and vocational schools, 239 primary schools, one university -Bishop Stuart University - and one theological college, Uganda Bible Institute (UBI), has been another daunting task for the Diocesan Secretary, who ensured implementation of church policy in the educational institutions to achieve desired results.
No wonder Church of Uganda-founded schools in Ankole Diocese have continued to perform well in national examinations. In the 2017 Primary Leaving Examinations results, the overall pass rate was 95.2 per cent, meaning that the diocese produced more deserving candidates who qualified for secondary education.
The total number of candidates who scored Division One were 798, which accounts for 1.4 per cent of the national Grade One performance of 9.1 per cent.
In the recently released Senior Four 2017 results, Mbarara High School was ranked by the media as the best Church of Uganda-founded secondary school for the first time ever after 89 per cent of its students passed in Grade One.
The Rev Can Ngabirano’s distinguished works can also be reflected in co-ordinating priests in building new churches, including the nearly 5,000-seater All Saints Church Mbarara, which retired Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi described as the biggest Anglican church in Uganda.
It is gratifying to have worked with the Rev Can Ngabirano.
The moral of this writing is that heads of organisations need to pay tribute to their junior officers who might never be recognised for their contribution.
I learnt this better when I was deputy headmaster at Kibubura Girls Secondary School and Ntare School. The biggest credit always went to the head-teachers yet at our small level, we contributed significantly.
Happy retirement the Rev Can Ngabirano.
The Rt Rev Dr Fred Sheldon Mwesigwa
is the Bishop of Ankole Diocese.