March 2009
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Day March 9, 2009

Namirembe now part of land politics

Brief: At 12:00 PM , 8th march 2008, at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Namirembe, the Bishop of Namirembe for the last 15 years signed the letter of ‘abdication’ of pastoral authority to the Archbishop of the province of Uganda, The Rt. Rev. Orombi who immediately too handed over responsibility to the nearest [geographically] Bishop Dr. Luzinda of Mukono Diocese. [Read on: up to P/S, beyond sign-off].
1/6. Why all this?: the record of the minute of the Synod read by the Secretary to the Diocese of Namirembe to the audience narrated that Bp. Ssekkadde had stated his wish to resign at clocking his 65th birthday in 2 years time and has ever since been saying ‘bye-bye’ to his flock.
2/6. But wait, in his sermon, The Arch-Bishop thanked the Christians of Namirembe for their patience and that he was relieved the ‘demonstrative’ match threatened had not taken place. He also warned the parishioners and the clergy to avoid politicising church matters.
3/6. Comment:
But wait, all has not been well for this Great Diocese that used to ‘command’ obedience from Maseno in Kenya to Bujumbura in Burundi, from Boga-Zaire [Eastern Congo] to Juba in the Sudan. Some clergy and laity had wanted the man gone sooner than later, even before his official retirement date that fell a few days back.
4/6. The possible root cause:
After the Kabaka of Buganda, Namirembe probably comes next in size of land owned in Buganda. When Sheikh Mubaje was under fire, Bishop Ssekkadde paid a courtesy call on him and is reported to have said. “..if he is leasing out but not selling, that is developmental…..that is not a problem“. Rumours had been flying around that Ssekkadde had been ‘selling’ land of different parishes under his custody and there were conflicts in Buganda on subject. The fire of rebellion gathered momentum.
5/6. Other possible reasons: Namirembe today is not that of yesterday. The Bishop of Namirembe is no longer the ‘de-facto’ chaplain at State House, Entebbe. Even in Buganda things have changed. For example, in the audience today were two very important individuals in Buganda: The current Katikiro (J.B. Walusimbi) and the former one, (Mr. Mulwanyamuli Ssemwogerere) -people that are not parishioners at St. Paul’s cathedral – a thing that could never have been imagined over the last 120 years in Buganda’s history. {The prime minister of Buganda, Prof. Apollo Nsibambi never misses the 11 O’clock Luganda service at Namirembe. So, he was present too and he hugged the outgoing Bishop}. Things have not been made easier by the American-style ‘born-again’ biweempe [grass-carpet] congregations, although studies indicate the avalanche has been countered here.
6/6. Conclusion: So, a lot has changed and therefore, Namirembe cannot hide from the Politics of Uganda today, despite the Arch Bishop’s warning, especially when it comes to land politics, etc.
Christopher Muwanga,
P/S: The Religion the Katikiro of Buganda was one of the most important questions in Buganda/Ugandan politics. Many believe that the DP was born to fight for the ‘Katikiroship’ of Buganda. It is a question that has shaped our politics ever since ‘project Uganda’ came to be.
That Roman Catholics have now become confirmed Katikiro’s of Buganda under Kabaka Mutebi is not a miracle though. That a catholic too should become Katikiro was a DESCISION by the NAMIREMBER ELITE, led by Prof. Nsibanmbi, Mayanja –Nkangi and others (probably including the thenArch-duke’ Besweri Mulondo, too). CM.
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