Anglican Church leaders in Kasese district have described the departed former Rwenzori Diocesan bishop, Dr Eustace Kamanyire, a parent and selfless man of God. Before Kasese became South Rwenzori Diocese in 1984, it was part of the wider Rwenzori Diocese which Kamanyire led from 1981 to 2000.
Before Kasese became South Rwenzori Diocese in 1984, it was part of the wider Rwenzori Diocese which Kamanyire led from 1981 to 2000. And now Right Reverend Jackson Thembo Nzerebende, the Bishop of the Kasese-based diocese, says the demise of Dr Kamanyire robs the two dioceses of role model. Bishop Nzerebende says most of the priests in Kasese who served under Kamanyire still viewed him as a father.
Retired Bishop Kamanyire passed on last week at Nakasero Hospital in Kampala, more than a month after suffering a stroke early October. His burial is underway at St John’s Cathedral in Fort Portal with Nzerebende representing the Archbishop of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali.
Bishop Nzerebende remembers Kamanyire as a man who first worked in Kasese as an employee in the fish processing industry at Katwe-Kabatoro town council before becoming a priest. He also served as a Lay Reader at Kilembe Mines before raising through the Church hierarchy to become a priest and later on a bishop.
Nzerebende is one of the priests who were mentored by Kamanyire, having ordained him a deacon in November 1983 before the creation of the South Rwenzori diocese. He describes him as a man who was never concerned with the tribal differences between the Bakonzo and Batooro. To prove this, according to Bishop Nzerebende, Dr Kamanyire adopted a Mukonzo boy named Alfred Sibende who later became a priest.
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He also remembers the late Bishop Kamanyire for leading him in a retreat, shortly his consecration as Bishop in 2004, when he advised him that a church leader preaches the gospel as it is so that many people come to God. In the Anglican Church, when one is appointed bishop, they spend months in a retreat being prepared for the demanding office. A senior bishop or a retired bishop is assigned the task of preparing the new bishop.
It is remembered that during his pastoral visits to confirm Christians in Kasese area, Bishop Kamanyire and his late wife Irene encountered a strange situation when Christians laid for them a bed made of dry banana leaves. Those close to him say such memories kept on his mind as he used to lament.
Other memories are about Bishop Kamanyire being part of the team of religious leaders who welcomed the Charles Wesley Mumbere Iremangoma at Nsenyi in Kasese when he denounced armed rebellion and slopped down from the mountains in 1982. Mumbere, who was then the leader of the Rwenzururu Movement, was in 2009 installed as the King of the newly created Rwenzururu Kingdom.
One of the first deacons to be ordained by Bishop Kamanyire in 1981 is the sub-dean of the St. Paul’s Cathedral in Kasese, Reverend Canon Cornelius Maate. He describes the deceased as a strong man who could not be intimidated by any situation. He remembers when there emerged a remolding committee that wanted to overthrow the bishop under the pretext of making changes in the diocese, but the late Kamanyire persisted and carried on with his work.
Jackson Buseku, a Christian who was confirmed by Bishop Kamanyire in 1982, says he was a respected man who was feared by everyone whenever he could give the confirmation exam. He says Bishop Kamanyire was a good preacher.