What you need to know:
- Please avoid the pitfalls of vindictiveness, so that your tenure and legacy will be defined by unity.
I congratulate you sincerely upon being elected and consecrated the eighth Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda. From the onset, let me declare that I have not had the opportunity to know Your Lordship very well as a person or even as a leader in the church.
The closest I have interacted with you was in January 2019 when we were organising the St Janani Luwum foot pilgrimage – from Kampala to Mucwini, Kitgum District.
Even then, our interaction was limited. Before and after the pilgrimage, I interacted with you only as sheep and shepherd. I pray often in Christ Church where you served as vicar for some time. A few times I have met you at functions. Admittedly, my knowledge of your leadership credentials is shallow and peripheral.
Nevertheless, my small interaction with you suggests that you have the qualities required for shepherding this diocese.
Your Lordship is humble and possessing great skills for cultivating good rapport with the flock. Certainly, you have the gift of the gab for spreading the word. I believe also that you are a leader with integrity. My wife attests to this. She once approached you to recommend her for a teaching job in a local school. After receiving the recommendation letter, she felt obliged to thank you – with a dime – an offer you declined. This simple gesture says something about your character.
However, Your Lordship’s election and enthronement comes at a time when our diocese is afflicted by many ailments. There are several allegations that have been labelled against past and present leaders of the diocese – disregard of canon laws; abuse of office; witch-hunt based on real or perceived disagreement; misappropriation of funds; personalisation of institutions, etc. These ills have caused disunity and desertion of the church.
That is why your election and consecration was contested in the courts of law by a section of disgruntled Christians. The allegations were many, but chief among them, was that due process was not followed before and during the nomination process. The aggrieved Christians petitioned the Archbishop and the House of Bishops over this in futile. The Archbishop and the House of Bishops paid little attention to the issues raised, hence resort to courts of law.
Had it not been for the dialogue initiated by Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo, your election and consecration could have perhaps been halted by the courts of law. If this had happened, I wonder what your fate and that of the diocese would have been.
The diocese could have possibly plunged into disarray and confusion as was the case with Kitgum Diocese. We thank God for saving us from once again trudging along that embarrassing route.
Anyways, you are now the substantive Bishop of Northern Uganda Diocese, with a crisp clean slate to write a new chapter for the diocese in. Your Lordship faces one of two paramount choices to make. You either rise above parochialism, reconcile and heal the church or hold onto old hatreds and ungodly tendencies that will further divide the church and undermine progress. I implore you to choose the former.
Preoccupy yourself with reconciling and healing the church. Forgive unconditionally those who slighted or offended you – including those who sought court action to address their concerns. Furthermore, ask for forgiveness from those that you could have wronged. Please avoid the pitfalls of vindictiveness, so that your tenure and legacy will be defined by unity in the diocese. If you do this, our diocese will regain its old glory.
Otherwise, the reverse will be true.
The writer is a politician, trainer and writer