Luweero Diocese Caretaker: Why Bishop Ssebaggala?

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Rev. Canon Godfrey Kasana Ssemakula, the dismissed bishop elect of Luweero diocese.

With only four complete months into retirement, the Retired bishop of Mukono Diocese, the Rt. Rev. James William Ssebaggala who relinquished the canonical responsibilities on February 26, 2023 has to wait a little longer before he fully enjoys his retirement, after clocking the mandatory 65 years. On July 14, in a letter addressed to him from from the Archbishop of Church of Uganda, Dr. Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu, Bishop Ssebaggala was appointed to be the caretaker bishop for the embattled Luweero Diocese. He is taking on all the responsibilities for the next eight months with effect from Tuesday July 18, to March 18, 2024.

“Following our discussion on phone and after careful and prayerful consideration, I have appointed you to be Caretaker Bishop of Luweero Diocese,” the Archbishop’s letter reads salutation.

He adds that, “With the issue at hand the nullification of the election of the Luweero Bishop Elect by the House of Bishops on the June 28, and abdication of Bishop Eridard Nsubuga on July 9, 2023, the leadership of Luweero Diocese requested for some time to reorganize themselves.”

The Archbishop further noted in the same appointment letter, the genesis of this conundrum! “Luweero Diocese Christians initially went into jubilation after the House of Bishops had elected and consequently announced Canon Godfrey Kasana as their 4th Bishop on April 3, 2023 while in Kisoro District. Canon Kasana had been slated for consecration and enthronement as bishop today the 16th of July 2023 at St. Mark’s Cathedral, Luweero but the day has come to pass when the Diocese is in total confusion after the same House of Bishops sitting on June 28, at Kabalega Resort Hotel in Hoima District nullified his election yet the presiding Bishop Rt. Rev Eridard Nsubuga’s term in office had to come to an end on the July 9, after reaching the mandatory 65 years of retirement hence he relinquished his powers to the Archbishop as the canonical laws dictate in such circumstances. With all these unfolding events, Christians were left divided with a big bunch of them castigating the House of Bishops for nullifying the election of Canon Kasana on grounds of extra marital affairs which they say were unfounded and have since caused bitter exchanges between the pro Canon Kasana Christians and the church leaders who say that they stood their grounds basing on the evidence adduced to them by some Christians still from Luweero Diocese.


From what he managed to do in Mukono diocese, in his 12 years reign, including the proper management of the clergy, the developments and church planting, one can easily know the magic in bishop Ssebaggala which can make him the best candidate to handle the hot and disgruntled Luweero diocese at the moment. An interview with bishop Ssebaggala before going into retirement.

What were the major highlights of your reign as bishop?

I came with a slogan called PICO which stands for Participation, Involvement, Commitment and On board. I have achieved everything based on that slogan. We have built very many churches, by the time I came in, the diocese had over 400 churches but they are now over 700. We had limited Christians attending church services but as I get out, very many churches became smaller; some have been rebuilt into bigger ones.

We built the bishop’s residence into a storeyed house, we upgraded Namirembe Health Centre IV into a fully-fledged Mukono church of Uganda Hospital and we have also started health centres in different parts of the diocese.

We have transformed education in the diocese, many of our schools including those that are under universal primary or secondary education nowadays give holistic education which is compared to the private schools unlike in the past when people had lost hope in them. We have built very many new schools including two Seed Schools, one in Kayunga district and another one in Mukono district in Kimenyedde sub-county. With the help of the government of Iceland, we have very many classroom blocks which were built in Buikwe district.

We started Mukono Diocese School of Nursing and Midwifery Sciences (MUDI-SONAMS) which started with only 26 students but it is currently having over 500 students. It started with only female students when we were only issuing certificates; it is now mixed and at a diploma level.

We started the Mukono diocese cottage industry which is training the youth in vocation skills. As I came in, we had over six archdeaconries of Lutikko, Ndeeba, Ngogwe, Nakibizzi, Bukoba and Kangulumira but we now have 12. The new ones are; Seeta, Kasawo, Lugazi, Mpumu, Nassuuti and Bbaale. We bought two boats and two engines to enable the evangelism ministry in the islands. The church servants also have good houses unlike before.

I have also empowered and enabled the church ministers to take on education as one of the tools to equip them with knowledge. We have more of the priests who are educated and lay readers. The church ministers also have transport means in the form of vehicles and motorcycles which was not the case before I came in. We have also given out free pigs to the Christians as a means of transforming their economic status. Over 1000 piglets have been given out. We had plans to build a pig’s meat sausage processing factory which is not yet in place.

We have also been challenged with the retired clergy who were leaving a miserable life as the Christians abandon them to leave on their own despite their productive life they spend serving them through different churches. I therefore started a program of a pension scheme which is in Mukono Diocese Savings and Credit Organisation which was also started in my reign.

The diocesan administration block, Mukono Broadcasting Service, a radio station for the diocese and the synod hall which have a capacity of over 1000 people are also one of the things Bp. Ssebaggala boosts of.

Qn: How do you want to be remembered in future?

I want the people of Mukono to remember me as a person who has loved his church so much. Many church ministers start reducing the time they give to the church when they are still over five years saying they are preparing for their retirement. But I am still in the office; I will be getting home after fully handing over to my successor.

Qn: What do you regret as a bishop?

I don’t have anything much I regret. In my service, I have been making regular evaluations on my service and for anything I would feel was lacking, I used to correct it there and then. I am only regretting the two years of COVID 19 lockdown which gave me new experience seeing all churches closed. That was something I have never seen and never thought of. But I also used that time to preach the gospel using the diocesan radio. We also used our cottage industry to make face masks which we sold out and got some money.

Qn: What did you want to do as you came in as bishop that you have failed to achieve?

I have done almost everything I put in my bishop’s charge, the list of things any bishop puts down and they are those things that you make sure that you fulfil one by one. For my case, I have also done many other things outside it. It’s only the new diocesan Cathedral which I found when they had already laid the foundation stone that I have failed to fulfil. But I renovated the one in place and increased its capacity. Hope the new bishop will start on that.

Qn: What income generating activity have you prepared to do in your retirement?

I love farming so much; I am therefore going to do farming. During my service as a bishop, I had dedicated Monday as the day for my garden. So, instead of one day, I am going to have six days in a week for my garden. I am also going to rear some animals.


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