‘Thank you for coming to bid farewell to Canon Simoni Petero,( Omwami, that is the name his children called him) your friend, father, brother, grandfather but above all, a friend of God. He used to tell me this “OLINA OMUKISA SIMON BAYONA” ( Matt 16:17-18, Blessed are you,Simon the son of Jonah”) I thank our God for loving him and exalting him.
My father Canon Simoni Petero has gone to heaven. So did our mother Tabisa. Their goodness and committement to God were unequalled. I talked to him six days before passing, he asked me how I was and the family. He was weak but strong in spirit. He at one time he asked me thus” sejusa, mbwenu ndyakureeba?”( my son Sejusa,will i see you before i die?) Tantegyereize( could not wait) as his heart desired and also as I dreamt I would. But In Deuteronomy chapter 29 verse 29, it says “The secret things belong to the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong to us and our children forever……..” So am rested in that profound knowledge.
My father belonged two nationalities,he had no tribe. And he always stressed that.
The first one is universal and spiritual in nature. To this, my late father belonged to the universal congregation of the chosen people of God through the new testament founded on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This was the main and most important constituency of canon SimoninPetero.And for this, he preached the gospel for 74 years and rose to become a Canon of the church of Christ.(TUKUTENDEREZA).
The second nationality is that built and operated around the raw materials of flesh and blood. (omubili).This realm is limited in scope and reach and is temporary. This is the one of suffering and pain and of no gain in the end. This is the one you and me are still enslaved in.
Iam glad it can nolonger hold my father hostage.I give you this dichotomy so that we can appreciate the magnitude and nature of his send off. It helps us to understand that there is something bigger than the physical existence we so much waste time on.
Due to the nature of the politics in our country, am unable to come and bid farewell to my father. At least not just yet. I could have come, for I believe God would protect me. But I wanted his send-off to be peaceful, not one where moarners would be tear guessed or even shot at. I wanted his send off to be about him and his God. Not me and a paranoid government, but him. To be an ocassion to enhance God’s glory .
Our mothers and fathers are our earthly gods. To them we owe everything. Only God the father comes before them. I buried my mother Tabisa in 1978. I was a young fellow still in school. How can I not bury my father after working so hard for my country? Its difficult to fathom! But then, mamy times,God brings about these terrible trials in our lives for good reason. Incredbly, many times they come to those he loves most.
But why? To either make us better people who he can use for the good of humankind or to use us as examples to teach others that” vanity of vanities all is vanity!” Whatever reasons it may be, it has left me a better man, with unshakable brief in the correctness of my mission. It has tought me that our past should never own us. We should have the capacity to get up and walk away. That is what my father did when he got saved at the age of 15, We all can do it.
Eulogising Canon Simoni, my father would take me a full day. How can I talk about my father in a one page letter? Therefore, I will speak about my father when I come back home. And I will come. In Genesis Chapter 31 verse 3, we read these words “Then the Lord said to Jacob, return to the land of your fathers and your family, AND I WILL BE WITH YOU”. If God of my father is with me, who will stop me? Its just a matter of time.
Just briefly though, i wish to just mention what my father was in broad terms. He was a man of great faith, abundant love and totally committed to his God. He had a profound inner beauty and extremely honest. Honest perhaps to a fault. He was a giant in many respects,the history of Bwera and the Revival movement in our country can not be written without his special place. Be it in education, faith, public service or personal sacrifice.
He survived Amin soldires twice,once, they attacked our home, Obote troops almost killed him twice, then in 1996, when I was in court against Mr Museveni’s government thugs attacked his home, beat him up and took his car etc. They asked him for my guns. How could a holy person like Simon be involved in such earthly matters? But because of his great faith, he fogave them and prayed for them. Like in the book of Bishop Festo kivengyere, called “I love IDI AMIN”, that is the context my father loved his tormentors, it is that love which goes beyond all human undrestandig that made him our hero.
And yet, now, I cannot bury him because of the government I fought so much to bring to power. Irony of ironies! But then, that is what evil is all about. Yet it is through the goodness of the heart and purity of spirit that we can transcend all these trials and forgive those who wrong us. All Ugandans will have to look for a formula to heal our nation.
Our father loved us to the maximum, our mother Tabisa, and Kasalina,our step mum and the spiritual brethren( ABEISHEMWE/ABOLUGANDA)) and his country. I will treasure all these memories. After all, those we love never die but live forever in our hearts.
To my siblings now, do not look at the negatives only, we have more positives in our lives to be thankful for. Stay together, love Kasalina and protect the legacy of our parents. On my part,i will do whatever is in my power to maintain the harmony ,love and peace our father always wanted us to have in the family. The same goes to the families of Kabwindi (Ishe Katera),Kamugabo,Tamwesigyire and Ncunda. We still have uncles and aunts. Matsiko, Suubi etc. come together and ignite the flame so that these families remain vibrant. I will do my part,for God is on my side.
I thank you all the men and women of God, Aboluganda mu Yesu, the doctors who treated my father. The relatives who were there when he needed help, church leaders and all those that have been there for our family through the great tragedies recently. I thank my brothers and sisters, i thank Kasalina, i thank my cousins and all friends.
I thank my wife Juliet for all she did for our father when he was still alive.
When I come, I will talk about the man I knew as my father. A man of extraordinary qualities that turned him into a man who saw tomorrow.
That is the man that am so proud to call father. Farewell my friend and father.
Thank you all for coming to bid him farewel.
I end with this quote from Ernest Hemingway, ” THE WORLD BREAKS EVERYONE AND AFTERWARD MANY ARE STRONG AT THE BROKEN PLACES”
GOD REST AND BLESS HIS SOUL FOR EVER
Gen David Sejusa