John Baptist Kaggwa, the immediate former Bishop of Masaka Catholic Diocese was on Saturday buried at Bukalasa Minor Seminary in Kalungu district but without a government representative.
The outspoken prelate succumbed to COVID-19 on Wednesday after a month of treatment at the Mulago National Referral Hospital, Kampala, aged 77.
The conspicuous absence of a central government representative raised questions among mourners since that various government officials including ministers have blamed the church for the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) loss of popularity in Buganda.
The NRM posted poor results from the presidential, parliamentary and local government elections in Buganda – with all the 15 ministers hailing from the region including the Vice President, Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi losing their 2021 parliamentary bids.
It is however not clear whether this is the reason why no government minister including those from Masaka Diocese attended the funeral which the chairperson of the Uganda Episcopal Conference, Bishop Anthony Zziwa of Kiyinda – Mityana Diocese took time to respond to the accusations against the church’s clergy.
Zziwa said that the Bishops have a duty to guide society on any issue, read the signs of time and respond firmly without fear or favour.
“When we intervene is social situations, it does seek to usurp or invade the duties of the others or to neglect her own nor are there any thoughts of pursuing objectives that are foreign to her [church] mission,” Bishop Zziwa said.
Zziwa described Kaggwa as a precious gift that had greatly benefited both the Church and the country during his apostolic vocation that has spanned for 49 years.
Zziwa eulogized the deceased Bishop as a diligent and humble servant who even after his retirement in May 2019, remained committed to serving the Church and fully accomplished all responsibilities assigned to him.
After he officially retired in July 2019, Bishop Kaggwa was appointed the Assistant Chairperson for Priestly Commission by the Uganda Episcopal Conference, and according to Zziwa, the deceased has without fail performed all his duties in which he has greatly worked towards strengthening the faith and Church.
Zziwa added that in the late Kaggwa, the Church and the country has lost a true servant who served all categories of people and worked for peace and fairness on all aspects of life.
In his Homily, the Masaka diocesan Bishop Serverus Jjumba challenged the congregation to emulate the values of the deceased Bishop, by being truthful, generous and a lover of peace.
The Katikkiro (prime minister) of Buganda Kingdom, Charles Peter Mayiga eulogized the late Kaggwa as a selfless-humble servant who was however unwavering in building hope and standing out against all forms of injustices and government excesses.
Additional reporting by URN