By Henry Mugenyi
In a span of six months, Covid-19 and other diseases have robbed Ugandans of an unprecedented number of religious leaders from all denominations.Here they are.
ARCHBISHOP DR. CYPRIAN KIZITO LWANGA
The death on Saturday of Archbishop Dr Cyprian Kizito Lwanga who headed the Kampala archdiocese shocked the nation.
Dr Lwanga had been seen a day before leading faithful in the way of the Cross ahead of Easter. His April 3rd death was confirmed by the Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference, Monsignor John Baptist Kauta. A shaken Monsignor Kauta said that Dr Lwanga had not complained of feeling unwell before he was found dead in his room that morning.
The prelate’s doctor later confirmed that Archbishop Lwanga had suffered a heart attack. He was 68 years of age.
BISHOP JOHN BAPTIST KAGGWA
On January 20th, 2021 charismatic Masaka Bishop Emeritus John Baptist Kaggwa succumbed to COVID-19 which he had been battling for two months.
Just like Dr Lwanga, Bishop Kaggwa had been revered for championing peace, justice, democracy and social development in his pastoral mission. Many speakers, in eulogising Kaggwa, been described him as a social activist in a priests’ robes over the last 25 years. He was 78 years old at the time of his passing.
The man whose followers considered god Owobusobozi Bisaka died on January 18, 2021. He was the founder of the Faith Unity cult that boasts thousands of followers.
Bisaka’s death was confirmed by the head of communication of Faith Unity Omukwenda Mitooro on behalf of the family and Omukwenda Mugisa on behalf of the advisory committee.
Bisaka’s dumbstruck and grief stricken followers had now to contend with the passing of the man who had deemed himself god and eternal. He passed away in Kenya at the age of 90.
SHEIKH NUHU MUZAATA
Not since the 2015 killings of a number of sheiks had the Muslim faith lost a leader the stature of Sheikh Muzaata (48) on December 4, 2020.
Muzaata had made a name for himself a vocal speaker on Muslim issues and concerns on the national stage. He would not, however, stop there, colourfully calling out politicians he deemed to be misusing their powers and platforms. Muzaata was as likely to laud as to castigate and his speeches had become so popular that they were sold downtown.
He passed away at the International Hospital Kampala after several weeks of failing health and trouble in his marital home. Longtime friend and confidant Kawempe Division North MP Latiff Ssebagala Sengendo confirmed Muzaata’s death in a Facebook post.
SHEIKH DR. ABDU ANAS KALIISA
No one seemed more vital and full of future plans than Dr Abdu Anas Kaliisa whose November 4th death, 2020 stunned the nation and Next Media Services. Upon his death, Dr Kaliisa had just celebrated the landmark achievement of his younger brother Kin Kariisa relocating his group of companies to its new Naguru home after many years of planning and construction.
Dr Kaliisa was expected to be an even more pivotal part of Next Media Services as he expanded the reach of the Salam Charity. In addition to this charity, he had spearheaded the creation of Kaliisa foundation to aid needy children access education. He was also the star attraction of of a weekly Sunday show on NBS TV called Ensi n’ebyayo. Dr Kaliisa had long been involved in the growth of Islam in the country since the 1970s as a practitioner, leader and advisor. He was 69 at the time of his demise.
PASTOR AUGUSTINE YIGA
Many people at first doubted the authenticity of reports that Pastor Augustine Yiga had died, when news filtered out on October 20th, 2020.
Nicknamed Pastor “Abizaayo” for his outlandish “healing miracles” at Revival Church Kawaala, Yiga had been declared dead more times than can be counted on social media before. He had often come back to rebut the reports of his death on his channel, ABS TV, which itself had a difficult relationship with the regulator Uganda Communications Commission (UCC).
Never one to shy away from controversy, Yiga had been thrown in jail five months before for claiming that there is no Coronavirus in Africa. Yiga was charged with uttering false information and spreading harmful propaganda, an accusation his critics had long levelled at him for years. Yiga was 44 when he died, reportedly of liver complications.