What you need to know:
Unlike their predecessors whose choices were limited, they now have a choice to adopt a futuristic approach in navigating their terrain and come up with the best candidate for the Episcopacy.
On Friday May 13, at exactly 6 pm, the Diocesan Synod meeting at Namirembe elected the Bishop’s nomination team that will nominate two names of eligible priests to the House of Bishops, from whom the House of Bishops will deliver the 6th Bishop of Namirembe.
Bishop Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira has been at the helm of Namirembe Diocese for the last 15 years following his consecration in May 2009 as the 5th Bishop and has several achievements to his name.
He retires on December 8, 2023, when he clocks the mandatory retirement age of 65 years and the Nomination Committee will present the sixth Bishop for consecration.
This being a race against time, for the first time in many years, the Diocesan Synod has gone real ‘intentional’ in taking their pick from the country’s best ecclesiastical strategists, communication specialists and public relations experts in putting together a 15 member team chaired by Counsel David Mpanga, my old friend since King’s College, Budo, days; to help navigate the process.
While for much of the year, the team may not take in applications as yet, priority now goes first to familiarising themselves with the Church Canons and Constitutions and secondly, on acquainting themselves on nominations procedures and guidelines for applications acceptance. The marathon meetings of the committee will also focus on updating the Diocesan Profile, understanding clearly the needs of the Diocese and expectations for the new Bishop.
Nonetheless, the excitement is nearing the boiling point as several clergy have been seen dusting up their CVs, taking to the photocopier and others posturing for the holy Crosier.
Yet for the first time; the battle for the cathedra (the official seat of the Bishop) is shaping up to be a tight race as clergy in the diaspora are already showing interest in the coveted position and bringing the ‘war’ behind enemy lines.
Rev. Can. Thomas Nsubuga, who worked for the Diocese in several key positions as Parish Priest (Kasubi), and later as Diocesan Accountant before he took a position as the Sub-Dean of St. Mark’s Cathedral, Shreveport, Louisiana, USA, is already showing interest in the race. Just how far Canon Nsubuga might be willing to push his candidature further up, still remains an open question. The committee will also have the chance to look at contenders within Namirembe Diocese like Rev. Samuel Muwonge, the Diocesan Mission Coordinator and Ven. John Gitta of Entebbe Archdeaconry. These have worked closely with the retiring Bishop for years and provide an opportunity to ensure continuity and availability at all levels of institutional memory and smooth transition.
The Venerable Rev. Canon Godfrey Buwembo, the Archdeacon of Natete, stands on his own. He is relatively new in the administrative field but has excelled in accomplishing Bishop Luwalira’s assignments with regard to Pastoral duties, Youth Work and Missionary Training.
Contenders from outside the Diocese are also a force to reckon with. Rev. Canon Moses Kiyimba, the son of the late Rev. Canon Kibuuka, who worked as Archdeacon of Natete for over 20 years is evidence that the Kibuuka question is still very open in Namirembe.
Besides his father’s achievements in Namirembe, Canon Kiyimba has also worked in key positions in Namirembe Diocese for close to ten years before relocating to West Buganda as Diocesan Secretary.
Venerable Reverend Fred Kironde, the Archdeacon of Namukozi Archdeaconry (Mityana Diocese) is also a force to reckon with. He brings to the table, his vast social skills and development knowledge, to which he is confident that they will help deliver him to the coveted position. Trading carefully, not to appear proud is also Venerable Reverend Stephen Sebutindde Salongo, the Archdeacon of Namutamba Archdeaconry (Mityana Diocese). With his good educational background in both administrative and managerial skills.
Given the diverse and complex terrain to which the new nomination committee finds itself, members are in a much better place, nonetheless. Unlike their predecessors whose choices were limited, they now have a choice to adopt a futuristic approach in navigating their terrain and come up with the best candidate for the Episcopacy. This approach relies heavily on the knowledge of the past and present backgrounds of the candidates. It also looks at a lot of data generated from different platforms like social media, Twitter, Facebook, mobile phones and sensors with regards to candidates, diocesan profile and structure. This will, therefore, be useful in navigating the political headwinds of the electoral season and help deliver the sixth Bishop of Namirembe.
Rev. Canon Erich Kasirye
Chaplain, Kampala Capital City Authority