The Appointment of Rev Canon George Bagamuhunda as the New Bishop of Kigezi has drawn mixed reactions from members of the laity in the Diocese.
Canon Bagamuhunda’s election was announced on Thursday night after he was chosen by the House of Bishops sitting at Lweza Conference Centre off Entebbe Road. Also elected on the night was Canon Hannington Mutebi, who is to take over as Assistant Bishop of Kampala.
Canon Bagamuhunda will replace Right Reverend George Katwesigye, the current bishop of Kigezi who retires in March 2014 after heading the diocese for over 15 years.
Bishop-elect Bagamuhunda, who is currently serving as the provincial secretary for the Church of Uganda, becomes the 5th Bishop for the Diocese of Kigezi. He had earlier on worked as the head of the Water and Sanitation department in Kigezi diocese. He is an Engineer by profession with a Masters Degree in Engineering and a Bachelor’s in Theology.
Born on November 19, 1958 in Nangara Parish, Bubaare sub county Kabale District, Canon Bagamuhunda is said to have gotten saved and started working with the church in 1980 before being ordained a priest December 1983.
He worked as a chaplain at Bishop Barham Divinity College, now Bishop Barham University.
In 1992 he started working with the water and Sanitation program under the Diocese of Kigezi up to 2007.
Canon Bagamuhunda has always been described by Kigezi Christians as a practical administrator who was behind the establishment of several gravity water flow schemes in the Diocese, although his critics say he is not a good preacher. Some members of the Laity say he is a priest who is rarely seen on the pulpit.
His appointment has however drawn mixed reactions from Christians in the Diocese with some welcoming his appointment, while others say the new bishop will continue with the ideas of outgoing Bishop George Katwesigye.
Rev. Canon Katarishangwa of Kigezi Diocese told URN that the appointment of Canon Bagamuhunda is a great achievement adding that leaders are chosen by God and that the Christians should support him.
Reverend Ezra Bikangiso, a Kabale based advocate says the Bishop-elect has played a vital role in the development of the Diocese of Kigezi and that he deserves the job that has been given to him.
Bikangiso says the appointment of Canon Bagamuhunda will put Kigezi on the map.
Rev. Professor Emanuel Muranga, the Principal of Bishop Barham University which is owned by the church, says the new Bishop is a developmental man and that he is welcome.
However other Christians express concern over the appointment saying it is a project of the outgoing Bishop George Katwesigye.
The critics argue that the Bishop-elect is not good at preaching and has allegedly been giving out money to members of the Diocesan Synod through a one Caleb Twinamatsiko to bribe his way to the top job.
Festo Karwemera, a Christian at St. Peter’s Cathedral, says some Christians have for the last three years been complaining that the outgoing Bishop was grooming Canon Bagamuhunda for the same job, an act he has been denying but it has actually come to pass.
Karwemera says the new bishop comes from the Abasigi clan, the same clan where Bishop Katwesigye hails from. This to him is an indication that the outgoing bishop has been promoting the clergy from his clan.
Karwemera says that it is unfortunate that issues of clans are being associated with religion adding that this threatens to divide the diocese further.
Samuel Turamutunga, another Christian says Bagamuhunda is replacing the Bishop who has failed to bring unity to the Diocese and that the task is up to him to make sure that there is sanity in the Diocese.
Bishop Katwesigye has not commented on this story. But Rev. Obed Turihohabwe, the Kigezi Diocesan Secretary, told local media that there is need for all the Christians in the Diocese to embrace the new bishop and work hard towards building a stronger Diocese.
The new bishop is to be consecrated on January 19, 2014 at St. Peter’s Cathedral, Rugarama in Kabale District.