Taking  a look back at faith in Uganda

Sunday March 28 2021
life10pix
By Angella Nampewo

The night was almost over. My fancy high heels were starting to pinch as I browsed the stacks of books set on tables outside the banquet hall. 

The book display was only a small showing of the achievements of Fountain Publishers over 30 years. The evidence of this work had been there across the dinner tables all night; authors, editors, writers, other publishers, academics and other distinguished guests. 

As I rushed to catch my Uber home, I was arrested by a familiar voice- that of my long suffering editor, who sought to introduce me to an author whose book I had not seen before—the retired bishop Dr Edward Muhima.

The book, Triumph of Faith, Uganda’s experience under Idi Amin, has an intriguing opening with a chronology of political and historical events leading up to Uganda’s independence. 
Bishop Edward Muhima is obviously a well-read author who quotes heavily from many authorities and historical sources, making the narration vivid.

In Part I of the book, the author leads the reader on a journey through the pre-independence movements illustrating how Uganda arrived at the moment of self-rule. We become acquainted with the key political actors and their roles in the political events that unfolded right up to the coup that brought Idi Amin Dada to power in 1971.

The author delves deep into the subject of the suffering Ugandans endured under Idi Amin and its ultimate purpose. Although this segment contains the theories of scholars and philosophers, it is surprisingly accessible and illuminating, venturing into explanations on suffering from across the religious divide and across disciplines and geographical locations. 

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The book is a celebration of the Ugandan spirit for having made use of the suffering generated from their abused freedoms to liberate Uganda...

In seeking to understand the meaning of suffering in Part II of the book, the author reveals the sacrifices undertaken by Ugandans in exile, bringing to the fore the little known efforts of such as Bishop Festo  Kivengere in the education and training of Ugandan refugees and Kenya during the regime of Idi Amin.

The book, perhaps because it is written by a man of the cloth, with privileged access to church sources, gives special treatment to the account of the attack on the house of the Archbishop Janani Luwum deep in the night and the search at gunpoint. 

And there was more, we learn. Another bishop was arrested and his house searched too.

For a 140-page book, Triumph of Faith has a rich list of references, further lending credence to the author’s resourcefulness in research and sourcing.

 There is a commendable effort to list some of Idi Amin’s victims as well as documents pertaining to the attack on bishops that many readers will see for the first time in this book.

Written by a clergyman, one could easily jump to the wrong conclusions about the possible contents of this book, after all, we have been conditioned not to expect lengthy political discussions and analysis from the clergy. 

It was hard to predict what to expect but having ventured in, it takes one on a journey that is surprising, refreshing and well worth the effort.

Title: Triumph of Faith
Author: Edward B. Muhima
Publisher: Fountain Publishers Limited
Published: 2017
 

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