Christians angry after top govt officials shun Bishop Kaggwa's burial

Monday January 25 2021

Bishops waiting to receive the body of deceased Bishop Emeritus John Baptist Kaggwa in Masaka, January, 23 2021. PHOTO/GERTRUDE MUTYABA.

By Wilson Kutamba

A section of Christians in Masaka Diocese have castigated top government officials for shunning the burial of Bishop Emeritus John Baptist Kaggwa.

Bishop Kaggwa ,78, died on Wednesday at Mulago National referral Hospital where he had  been admitted after contracting Covid-19.

The prelate was buried on Saturday inside a chapel at Bukalasa Minor Seminary cemetery. However, there was no official government representative that attended the burial.

Various Christians who spoke to Daily Monitor on Sunday wondered how government big shots including those from Masaka Sub region could skip the final send-off of ‘a great man of God who has diligently served the Church and also worked tirelessly to promote the social economic development of the area.’

Some of the high ranking government officials who hail from Masaka sub region and did not attend Bishop’s Kaggwa’s burial  include ;the Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, Vincent    Ssempijja (Minister of Agriculture), Joy Kafura Kabatsi (State Minister for works), Haruna Kyeyune Kasolo( State Minister for micro-finance ), Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi (Minster State for youth and Children Affairs ) and Sam  Kuteesa ( Minister for Foreign Affairs ).

Mr Ssekandi had a day earlier attended a requiem mass to pray for the fallen bishop at Kitovu Cathedral where he gave out Shs1m as condolence money.


Bishop Kaggwa was a strong critic of government and could always make open remarks on governance and political issues.
According to Ms Regina Nalubega Kitaka, the head of   Laity in Masaka Diocese, they were surprised not seeing any senior official from Central Government attending Bishop Kaggwa’s burial.

“Bishop Kaggwa has been for all of us. He has helped government in promoting its programmes. He enjoyed a cordial working relationship with many ministers in this region, but surprisingly, none of those people attended his send off,” she said, adding “We really don’t know why it was like this and as Christians, we are not happy.”

Mr Jude Muleke, the  Kabaka’s chief in Buddu County (Masaka District) ,said they were stunned by the no-show of government officials at the burial.

“Some Ministers have been accusing the Catholic Church of being responsible for government’s   poor performance in Buganda in the recent elections, may be that is what  kept them   away from the burial,” He said.

However, Mr Peter Ssekungu , the Masaka District NRM chairperson  who is also  the head of laity at Naluzale Catholic Parish, said given the current Covid-19 pandemic situation  ,it was risky for all top government officials to attend the burial.

“What do you call government?  I was personally there representing the NRM secretary general Ms Kasule Lumumba, there were also four RDCs, the vice President on his part attended the requiem mass at Kitovu and gave the condolences   , government was fully represented,” He said.

When contacted, Mr Ssempijja said he was bedridden and had officially apologised to the Bishop of Masaka Diocese Serverus Jjumba for being unable to attend Bishop Kaggwa’s  burial .

“How could I refuse to bury Bishop Kaggwa when I am well? , even if you ask Bishop Jjumba ,I  tendered in my sincere apologies for being unable to come because I have been sick for almost a month now ,” He  said via telephone on Sunday.