For eleven years, Edward Muganga worked very close with Dr. Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu, who was recently elected the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda. During those years, Muganga who worked as the chairman of the Christian Main Ministry – the Youth Arm of Mityana diocese, says Dr. Kaziimba’s parental advice, spiritual leadership and sharp business acumen had a profound impact not just on him but also for hundreds of thousands of people across the five districts that make Mityana Diocese.
Below he recounts some of the most memorable lessons.
Start with the family
We want to thank the Lord for the life of the Archbishop-elect Dr. Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu, because his life is a blessing for all of us.
One of the most unforgettable memories of Dr. Kaziimba’s leadership in Mityana is the example he set in his family. As the bible says, you cannot lead a bigger community before you lead your small family. Bishop Kaziimba started the ministry right from his family. Starting with his wife to his children, the family of Dr. Kaziimba are actively involved in the ministry of serving God. One of them, Rev. Moses Mugalu, is an ordained and active reverend in the Church of Uganda, while others serve in other departments of the church such as being members of their church choirs. This is a living example especially to the young people that you can be a professional but also stay in the ministry of serving God.
Secondly, through his exemplary leadership of his family, he inspires many of us young people to look up to him as a model of how we can raise children who are disciplined.
Main-streaming the youth
By the time he took up the chair as the Bishop of Mityana in 2008, the first challenge he tackled was that of bringing young people back into the church. The church had in a way sidelined young people. The church had invested its energies in the old generation. But since his coming, he put emphasis on the young people and many have returned to the fold.
Because of his focus on young people, the youth now play an active role across the entire diocese of Mityana which has 670 parishes and 10 archdeaconaries.
To mainstream the youth, he organised annual youth conferences and over the past 10 years, we have met over 500,000 youth leaders whom we induct into ministry. I bear witness to this because for the first 5 years of his leadership in Mityana, I was the chairman of the youth across the diocese but also represented the diocese at the highest level – the provincial council – which leads the Church of Uganda.
Over the period of 11 years that Dr. Kaziimba’s steered Mityana diocese, we reaped immensely from his Business Evangelism.
When he had just taken over as the Bishop of Mityana in 2008, he made sure he wanted to change the attitudes of the people of Mityana. He preached the Gospel of economic emancipation, by telling people that it was important to look for the lost coin, before they can look for the lost sheep – hence the doctrine of business evangelism.
By this, he argued that it possible to engage the church directly into business because the Church is an independent institution that needs funds to operate. We succeeded greatly. For example, all the 25 projects that we implemented during his term, they were carried out under the philosophy of business evangelism.
Mityana diocese managed to build a six-storey hostel at Ndejje University in Luwero called Pension House by borrowing money from the bank so that we could raise the building in a short period of time. Under his guidence, we worked very hard to ensure that we repay the loan slowly. As I speak, we’re about to complete the loan.
The diocese acquired lock-up shops at the New Taxi Park in Kampala which also bring in money.
Through business evangelism, we managed to build a Pennsylvania house, a commercial structure located along Saza road in Mityana town, by borrowing UGX2.25billion from Equity bank. The partnership we struck with Equity bank will ensure that they become our tenants but also help us to complete the building.
Several other commercial structures in Mityana town have been built in similar fashion.
Turning to the cathedral building, which is the biggest church in Uganda with a sitting capacity of 4,000 Christians, is a phenomenal achievement and we could not have achieved it, if it was not through business evangelism. We were able to build the church in a record period of just three years. The church struck a partnership with the business community that allowed us to obtain materials with a promise to pay later. We are happy to note that we paid off every debt on the construction of the church.
The Bishop’s Project
Bishop Kaziimba introduced what we called the Bishop’s Project. It was supposed to be a separate commercial permanent project from which every christian would get money. It is not just for farming, but also for all economically active persons.
“The ultimate objective of the project is to ensure that people diversify their incomes. Even if you’re a civil servant or salaried worker, you should have an alternative income-generating project that can supplement your salary,”
Unfortunately, Dr. Kaziimba left before we could achieve much under this project, but we pray that the new Bishop Dr. Bukomeko will implement it.
Under Dr. Kaziimba’s leadership, we planted 65,000 coffee trees across the diocese. This coffee project which is located at every parish, is catered for by the youth. I am sure it is one of the most successful of the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC), projects because the parish priest is charged with the duty of overseeing it and has to make a report about it.
We also planted an eucalyptus plantation at Nabwendo, from which we harvested poles that we used as scaffolding in the construction of Pennsylvania house.
“Arising from the many business ideas that he pioneered in Mityana, I can safely say that I have never seen someone as entrepreneurial as Dr. Kaziimba.
Welfare improvement among the clergy
Before Dr. Kaziimba’s advent, the clergy in most of the parishes were being despised by the community, especially in comparison with the Catholic counterparts.
There was a joke that a Rev. Father gives people a lift in his car, but a Reverend in the Anglican church, asks for a lift or rides a motorcycle to events. And if by luck, a Rev. came driving, people would mistakenly think, the person was a Rev. Father (for Catholics). This greatly undermined the confidence of Christians.
Under Dr. Kaziimba’s stewardship, the welfare of the clergy has tremendously improved. Every archdeacon has a car, and several Reverends have cars.
Because we live in an educated society, the Bishop decided that the clergy had to lead by example. He made sure that every clergyman/woman not only upgrades in theology, but also acquires competence in the secular world such as obtaining a degree in education, in law, medicine or in agricultural extension. We now have Reverends who are lawyers in the making.
The Public Health Officer of Mityana district, Ssemugooma, is an ordained Reverend in the Church of Uganda. He has a masters degree in Public health.
Happily retired clergy
Unlike our brothers and sisters the Catholics whose clergy who continue to be cared for in the parishes, among Anglicans, when the clergy retire, they often retire into poverty.
Before Dr. Kaziimba went to Mityana, a Rev. was entitled to just 30,000 as pension, while the Bishop would get just 50,000. He said no. We have to change this poor state of affairs. “Now, with returns of Pension house, the clergy earn some good money and on a timely basis.
Qn. Expectation of the Archbishop-elect
There are several distractions for young people in Uganda at the moment.
One of the key challenges is the temptation to want to get rich quickly without working hard and experiencing hardship.
When young people meet someone dressed in a nice suit or driving a nice car, they want the same immediately. When it comes to leadership, young people tend to want to take up the top leadership positions without going through a mentoring process and knowing how to manage things. They don’t want to endure the hardships those people they want to replace, endured.
We hope that the new Archbishop will continue to cultivate the values of discipline and patience among young people; that young people can achieve their ambitions, only if they are ready to sacrifice for it.
Secondly, we hope he mainstreams the role of the family throughout the church. One of the main challenges within the Anglican church is the weakening role of the family. You find a man who is not muslim having four or more wives, and usually they fail to take care of the wives and children. We have to revert to our philosophy that among anglicans, being faithful to one husband and wife is paramount.
This is not only important for the individual but also for the community by ensuring that we raise children who respect God and the community. You will realise that it’s very difficult to raise a child who respects God and the community when you’re a single parent.
We have the challenge of HIV/AIDS which is not just a problem of the youth but is also among the adults. A sick nation cannot have people with big dreams. Many young people have had their dreams shattered because of HIV/AIDS.
As the people of Mityana diocese, we hope that he puts emphasis on raising the standard of Namugongo martyrs shrine so that it matches or even gets better than that of our brothers and sisters the Catholics. We would like to see that when pilgrims come, they have somewhere to sit.
Lastly, we would like him to promote self-confidence among Christians. We need Christians who have confidence that they can take up leadership in the church, in politics, in commerce and others spheres.