Choosing of archbishop does not require manifesto or CV

Wednesday September 11 2019

Fred Sheldon Mwesigwa

Fred Sheldon Mwesigwa 

By Fred Sheldon Mwesigwa

As the dust settles following the election of the Rt Rev Dr Stephen Kaziimba as the 9th Archbishop of Church of Uganda, I wish to most heartily congratulate him, but shade some light on the goings on prior to and after the election that put my name and a few other colleagues in the spotlight. For some reasons unknown to me, media houses chose to speculate on the most likely successors to Archbishop Ntagali and they zeroed in on bishops Kaziimba, Samuel George Bogere Egesa, myself and in the last hours, Alfred Olwa.
While media have a right to write about any subject and I trust are expected to do research, instead of being arm-chair journalists, I was disappointed that in the main, the data that was reeled in the press was un-researched and distorted. There was no attempt to research or at least Google and get some facts. Google can give a lot of information at the click of a button.
For a while, media houses were reporting very little about who in fact I am and the humble accomplishments the Lord has enabled me to make. The most ridiculous and persistent one, was that my wife is a secretary, yet she happens to be a university lecturer at Mbarara University of Science and Technology. Following my official complaint to some media houses to right their wrongs, I was asked for my CV and I flatly refused since I detected this could end up as a campaign gimmick.
Several telephone calls soliciting interviews in print and electronic media were turned down and I have documentation to this effect, and respective editors are aware.
Fast forward, August 24 was my much awaited wedding silver jubilee and ninth year anniversary celebrations as Bishop of Ankole Diocese, the latter a yearly calendar event. The celebration, which I had organised and planned for after a long while, went on without a hitch and it was a hilarious moment of flashback and great dreams ahead for our marriage. The climax of the function to me was announcing the new title for my dear wife, Akiiki, instead of addressing her as mummy, omukyaara, omukazi wangye, etc.
Among other dignitaries, it was a special joy to have Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, minister Karooro Okurut representing President Museveni, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali, King Oyo and former Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi. Those who are familiar with Archbishop Orombi’s calendar will know that you cannot invite him in less than a year and in our case, we had invited him even much earlier. The election of archbishop was originally scheduled for August 2, but later in the middle of the year, it was pushed to August 28. The change meant that our anniversary celebration was to be marked just before the election of CoU Archbishop.
It was very interesting to read media reports just 12 hours after the election of the archbishop, citing my wedding anniversary as a campaign gimmick. It is true that some friends casually suggested that the timing of the celebration could easily be misunderstood, but I replied that “The one thing I cannot postpone is my wedding anniversary, come rain or sunshine, which I had excitedly looked forward to.”
After the elections and following the media release of the vote tally, right or wrong, it has been important for me to explain that in the election of an archbishop, campaigns are not allowed. One of my Christians said, ‘Bishop turebire nokyanga akapiira aha TV!’ It took me a while to decipher the woman’s comment and matters were helped by my wife who remarked, “you see she is looking at the election of new archbishop as a football contest.” meaning “we saw you showing dazzling skills of soccer on the pitch!” In the choosing of an archbishop, manifestos are not read and even CVs are not discussed to weigh those who are nominated. It is a process of prayer and seeking guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Once more, I congratulate Archbishop-elect Kaziimba, a personal friend and co-worker.
whom I have invited to my diocese for ministry before and whose son Joseph Kazimba, a medical student, addresses me as Papa and led a choir Ug brotherhood that sang melodiously at my 25th wedding anniversary cerebrations on 24th Aug 2019, four days before the election of his dad as the 9th Archbishop of the Church of Uganda.
Rt. Rev. Dr. Fred Sheldon Mwesigwa (PhD.)
Bishop of Ankole Diocese