He is described by many Christians and clergy in and outside Kigezi diocese as God-fearing, hardworking and a creative church leader. Perhaps one of the reasons he is described this way is because the Rt Rev Eng George Bagamuhunda welcomes every one that comes his way with a smile and greets them with a born again greeting, “Praise God”, regardless of whether they are born again on not.
Bagamuhunda is the new bishop for the Diocese of Kigezi. He was elected on August 8 by the House of Bishops in Kampala and installed on January 19, replacing the Rt Rev George Katwesigye who retired after 15 years of church service.
Bagamuhunda, who is now the fifth bishop to serve in Kigezi, was born in Nangara village on November 19, 1958, in a polygamous family.
He says: “My father is the late Siira Bakeibiika and he had four wives of who my mother Jesika Tumwine was number two. My mother gave birth to six of us. Two have died and four of us are still living and I am the first born. In this polygamous family, I have many brothers and sisters and we get on very well.”
Bishop Bagamuhunda went to Rujanjara Primary School, and then Kigezi College Butobere, before he joined Makerere University for his Diploma in Theology which he completed in 1983. He holds a Bachelor of Divinity degree from the Theological Institute in Nairobi and also holds Masters of Science degree in Infrastructure Engineering in Community Water Supplies from Cranfield University in the United Kingdom among other certificates.
The day his life changed
As would be expected, the bishop hails the day he got saved as one of the most important in his life. It was on February 3, 1980, after suffering a terrible illness that made him spend a whole year without studying.
“That time of sickness was a complete turnaround of my life, I was struggling with anger and hatred, with no clear purpose in life until I gave my life to the Lord. I live a repentant life and God’s grace has been sufficient,” Bagamuhunda says quoting 2 Corinthians 12:9 in the Bible.
“I have never regretted the day I got saved and it’s my dream that everyone receives Jesus Christ as his or her personal saviour if the challenges of this world are to be managed properly,” Bagamuhunda said adding that he welcomes the election and he is ready to serve.
According to friends and relatives, there is much cause to celebrate his installation. The family elders and clan leaders of the newly elected bishop represented by Dr Aggrey Byamukama told of how Bagamuhunda’s birth was a special one.
“The mother of the Rt Rev Eng George Bagamuhunda, Jesca Bakeibiika spent 16 years in marriage before getting pregnant. His late father Siira Bakeibiika has to take on extra wives so that he could get children that would defend and accumulate numbers of his clan. By God’s grace at the beginning of the 17th year in marriage, Jesca got pregnant and she produced a baby boy who we named George Bagamuhunda,” Dr Byamukama said.
It is also said that the bishop’s great grandfather prophesied that one of his family members would be crowned, which is why the bishop was named Bagamuhunda, which loosely translated means, “they have crowned him”. The family believes this prophecy has come to pass.
It is clear that his election as Bishop of Kigezi was well received not just in the family but in the community as well. As soon as the announcement came through that he was Bishop Elect, sections of Christians in Kigezi Diocese started conducting night prayers thanking God for his election as they said, he was the right person. Others even placed adverts on local radio stations thanking God for his election stressing that a man of God with developmental approaches was welcome in the diocese.
The head of laity, Caleb Twinamatsiko, added his voice among those jubilating, saying that Christians had a reason to celebrate the appointment of Bagamuhunda.
“All the Christians should be happy about the appointment of the new bishop elect because he has not only served God diligently but he has served all the people in Kabale District without segregation. He designed the running water project that is benefiting over 300,000 people in this area regardless of their religious and political affiliations. We thank God for this appointment,” he said.
Mr Twinamasiko added: “We are happy to have the person that has been lobbying funds for the development of our diocese from the international community as our fifth bishop. We thank God for this double blessing. He also called for unity amongst all the Christians and the clergy if continued development is to be witnessed.”
Rev Obed Turihohabwe said: “We receive the election and subsequent consecration of our new bishop with great happiness and joy. Christians have a reason to celebrate. As the clergy, we are ready to work with him for the development of our diocese.”
However, Bagamuhunda’s election was not met with joy by all people. A section of Christians led by Leonard Tumwesigye, Godfrey Binaisa and Cyrus Kyomukama opposed his election and filed a civil suit demanding an interim order stopping his consecration on December 4 last year. They claimed that the manner and process in which Bagamuhunda was elected was against the constitution of the Church of Uganda and that the synod was not properly constituted. But on December 30 the High Court judge, Justice Michael Elubu dismissed this application saying that it had no merit as the complainants were not members of the synod and did not state the source of their information about the irregularities they claim.
And so Rev Bagamuhunda has started this part of his life with a responsibility to lead the church in Kigezi and its followers in the path that he says every individual in life must take. He believes reconciliation and uniting all the Christians in his diocese is his main task, saying that unity for all the Christians and the clergy is the catalyst for development.