By Juliet Lukwago
Two Ugandan Catholic bishops Joseph Anthony Zziwa of Kiyinda-Mityana and Sabino Ocan Odoki of Arua have been elected to the Committee of Bishops.
The election was during the 18th AMECEA Plenary Assembly that was held at Bingu International Conference Centre, Lilongwe, Malawi, that also saw Addis Ababa Archbishop Berhaneyesus D. Souraphiel elected new chairman.
AMECEA is an acronym for Association of Members of Episcopal Conference of Eastern Africa whose member countries are Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia Djibouti and Somalia.
According to Fr Phillip Odii of the Uganda Communications Secretariat, Nsambya, the committee is charged with church issues in the ten AMECEA member countries.
Archbishop Berhaneyesus, as he is known among AMECEA members, takes over from Most Rev Tarcisio G. Ziyaye of Lilongwe Archdiocese who has served for six years.
Ziyaye’s mandate as chairman of AMECEA expired at the end of this year’s meeting that has just been concluded.
Archbishop Berhaneyesus is the 10th Chairman of AMECEA and the first Bishop from Ethiopia to hold that position.
Other countries which have held that position in the history of AMECEA are Zambia and Uganda (three times each), while Tanzania, Kenya and Malawi have each held it once.
The Bishops also elected Polycarp Cardinal Pengo of Tanzania, John Cardinal Njue of Kenya, Ziyaye and Bishop Anthony Muheria of Kenya as trustees of AMECEA.
The meet also saw the election of new executive board members including: Bishops Joseph Anthony Zziwa (Uganda),Tesfaselassie Medhin (Ethiopia), Michael Didi (Sudan), Blantyre Archdiocese Archbishop Thomas Msusa, Philip Anyolo (Kenya), Charles Kasonde (Zambia) and Rogatus Kimario (Tanzania).
Bishop Maurice Muhatia Makumba (Kenya) has been elected Chairman of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) Council with Bishops Sabino Odoki (Uganda), Abraham Desta (Ethiopia), Martin Mtumbuka (Malawi), Alick (Zambia) and Bernadini Mfumbusa (Tanzania) elected as Council members.
The theme of the 18th Plenary Assembly was "New evangelization through true conversion and witnessing to Christian faith".
Over 250 (AMECEA) Plenary Assemblies take place every three years and bring together all members of AMECEA from the region.
Archbishop Berhaneyesus was ordained as a Vincentian priest on July 4, 1976. He was consecrated as a Bishop in 1998 by Cardinal Paulos Tzadua.
On July 7 1999 he succeeded His Eminence Paulos Cardinal Tzadua as Catholic Archbishop of Addis Ababa. Berhaneyesus will host the next AMECEA meeting in Ethiopia in the next three years.
The Chairman of (AMECEA) is elected every three years during the business session of the plenary meeting. The position is held for a maximum of two terms.
Who is Bishop Zziwa?
Bishop Joseph Anthony Zziwa was born on February, 16, 1956 at Kasambya, Mubende Parish in the Diocese of Kiyinda-Mityana.
He was ordained a priest on November 16, 1980 for the Archdiocese of Kampala. He was appointed co-Adjutor Bishop of Kiyinda-Mityana Diocese on December, 18 2001, and consecrated Bishop on March, 16 2002.
He was enthroned Bishop of the Diocese on November 21, 2004, becoming the third Ordinary Bishop of Kiyinda-Mityana.
Who is Bishop Odoki?
Bishop Sabino Ocan Odoki was appointed by Rome to oversee Arua Diocese as apostolic administrator, when his predecessor, Bishop Frederick Drandua resigned on August 19, 2009 due to ill health.
Ocan Odoki was born in Layibi, Gulu Archdiocese, on August, 8, 1957. He was appointed Bishop of Arua Diocese on October 20, 2010.
He entered in the National Major Seminary of Philosophy of Katigondo (1976 – 1979) and studied Theology in the National Major Seminary of Ggaba (1980 – 1983).
He was ordained priest on September 10, 1983 for the Diocese of Gulu. On July 22, 2006 and was appointed Titular Bishop of Sabrata and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Gulu.
On August 19, 2009, he was appointed Apostolic Administrator of Arua Diocese.