By Mike Ssegawa
The fall out between Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga and the charismatic preachers in his archdiocese reached its peak last week as one of his priest Fr Kibuuka announced exiting the Catholic church. Fr Kibuuka defied the prelate’s appointment to a rural parish citing persecution from the church authorities.
In the same week, preacher John Bosco Kyeyune, known as JB Makujanga suffered a heart attack at his posh home in Alright Estates on Entebbe Road, and died on Saturday early morning.
The two men who claim to perform miracles, reportedly had a feud springing from power struggles at Bukalango prayer centre. At the time of Mukajanga’s death, he was not seeing eye to eye with Fr Kibuuka, yet Fr Kibuuka who had relocated his ministry to Namugongo, cited his woes stemming from his enemies in the church. It’s said he blamed Mukajanga.
The archbishop suspended the two preachers, but Mukajanga continued his ministry as a private Christian at Jemba Plaza in Kampala, while, Fr Kibuuka quit the church to start his own ministry under the jurisdiction of the orthodox church.
It will be remembered that Fr Antony Musaala, another charismatic priest, was stripped of priesthood and joined the orthodox church.
The failure to manage the faith healers reflects badly on Dr Lwanga, a disciplinarian of repute, but whose term at Rubaga is characterized by rebel priests.
It’s not clear if Dr Lwanga in his judgment has a problem with charismatic preachers and thus he pulls out a whip quickly at a slightest provocation. Or, the good archbishop has failed to reign in his priests who have cult followers.
Before the dust settles on Mukajanga’s death, Dr Lwanga will have suffered a leadership crisis in his archdiocese as questions are bound to arise in his handling of the charismatic movement.
It is a matter of fact that the Catholic church puts its powers in bishops and finally Vatican. But a bishop has powers to discipline Christians and priests the way he judges best.
All priests vow to be obedient to the bishop who represents the church, and Dr Lwanga as a canon lawyer, knows it very well. It could be the reason he strongly castigates anyone he sees as challenging those powers.
For now, Christians should pray for the archbishop to sail through safely this storm.
Who is Dr Lwanga?
Dr Lwanga was a high flying priest. In his haydays the sky was the limit. His meteoric rise in eclessiatical ranks was unmatched among priests of his time. He would go ahead to acquire a doctorate in canon law, before he was charged with different high profile assignments including the building of Uganda Martyrs Shrine in Namugongo ahead of the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1993.
The former parish priest of Ndeeba parish was the blue eyed boy for both cardinals Emmanuel Wamala and Nsubuga. He served as the diocese’s chancellor, before he was ordained the first bishop of the newly created Kasana Luwero diocese.
In Kasana, the young bishop quickly established himself as a no nonsense pro-development superior.
And when Cardinal Wamala retired, he could not think of a better person to run Kampala but Dr Lwanga, so, he promoted him.
In Kampala, Lwanga has struggled to stamp his authority with his predecessor Wamala gifted with a long life in retirement and still wielding moral and political authority. It’s not uncommon for several priests and politicians consulting Wamala on a number of issues and jump the true shepherd of Kampala. Whereas Lwanga has not complained, so far, that undermines his authority compared to his predecessors such as Wamala himself, Cardinal Emmanuel Nsubuga and Archbishop Kiwanuka, who wielded a lot of power and influence.
However, priests, whether they feel victimized or not, have to work within their vows as Lwanga will not sit there and see his priests becoming merchants of faith instead of being shepherds with whom he delegates ecclesiastical authority.