Lwanga: The mould of  leader Ugandans miss

Wednesday September 22 2021
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The late Archbishop of the Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga


The great legacy of humility, self-denial, forthrightness, and speaking truth to power left Orthodox Archbishop Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga cannot go un-editorialized. 

So rare was his quality that political shades of opinion were all united in eulogizing the man of God. 
Lwanga, who died in Greece on September 5, was laid to rest at St Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral in Kampala on Monday. 

Lwanga, who sometimes passed as a harsh critic of the sitting regime, still found a soft spot in the heart of the head-of-state. Mr Museveni said Archbishop Lwanga displayed words and actions a high commitment to both the spiritual and social concerns of his congregation. 

It is precisely this comfortable balance of the shepherding spirit and care for socio-political as well as economic welfare of the flock and call to leaders to live by acceptable standards of morality and justice that many of Archbishop Lwanga’s peers lack. 
Our contemporary leaders need to share the humanity that Lwanga lived by. 

Many testified how he had shredded off and lived bare without any personal property that defines our modern leaders, both men and women. He reportedly owned only two pairs of shoes, few clothes and his priestly cassocks, and no bank account, no car and no house; a rarity among our contemporary leaders.

From Archbishop Lwanga, our recklessly wasteful MPs need to pick a leaf about modesty. Lwanga to his great credit reportedly used an old Land Cruiser that he bought in 2003. In sharp contrast, our MPs, including re-elected ones, after every five-year cycle, dash to receive brand new cars, costing our taxpayers an average of Shs200 million each yearly. 


This means, an MP who has been in the house for two terms or 10 years, has spent more than three times what Archbishop Lwanga has saved in owning and maintaining an old car in the 15 years.

Moreover, Archbishop Lwanga’s very plain lifestyle challenges us all, especially the voters and church leaders. Unlike most of our church leaders who must dutifully bend their knees to give thanks for such political gifts or inducements, especially during electioneering. Archbishop Lwanga would have none of it. 

He reportedly conducted his episcopal ministry with a great sense of dignity and non-compromise. In eulogy, witnesses testified that whenever politicians donated money to him, he would in turn give away to the needy.

Archbishop Lwanga was also reputed to often reject money given by politicians to his cathedral during such a electioneering period. He was, indeed, a rare man of honesty, integrity, and conviction, who spoke truth to power without any excuse or apology.

Fare-thee-well Orthodox Archbishop Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga.  You have run a great race.