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A twist in the letters of the names of men of the cloth

By Vision Reporter

Added 2nd February 2004 03:00 AM

TRIPLE ‘o’ out, double ‘o’ in – that is Archbishop Nkoyoyo out and Archbishop Orombi in.

TRIPLE ‘o’ out, double ‘o’ in – that is Archbishop Nkoyoyo out and Archbishop Orombi in.

By Sylvester Kaddu
TRIPLE ‘o’ out, double ‘o’ in – that is Archbishop Nkoyoyo out and Archbishop Orombi in. It appears that ever since the Province of the Church of Uganda was started by Archbishop Leslie Brown, nearly 50 years ago, (himself one of those northerners with an ‘o’ in his name), if you are a Bishop, you are in a vantage position to become Archbishop if you have an ‘o’ in your name.

The more the ‘o’s the better the chances, for the letter ‘o’ is used in sacred literature to refer to God, signifying that He encircles all His creation.

Strategist Livingstone Nkoyoyo, who not only rose from motor mechanic to Archbishop, but went through all the church cadres from lay reader, to top position, seems to have grasped this association, consciously or subconsciously. For before he became Bishop he used his first name Mpalanyi. On becoming a Bishop, he adopted his father’s unassailable quadruple ‘o’ name, Nyoyoyo.

The name MpalanyI other significant letters – ‘A’ and ‘I’ whose presence in a Bishop’s name stands them in a favourable position to rise even higher.

‘a’ and ‘i’ for our purposes here may be considered as short for the “Almighty and I” and the only letters of the alphabet considered powerful enough to out-distance all others, when it came to choosing a successor to Archbishop Leslie Brown.

EricA SAbItI had several sprinkling of ‘a’s and ‘i’s in his name, welling up into an unbeatable prayer crying “I, Almighty, Almighty I, I.” That impassioned supplication made by whoever called out Erika Sabiti’s name, was sufficient to persuade even the Almighty to permit Sabiti to become the first African Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, in 1965.

On the face of it, Archbishop Janani Luwum, who replaced Sabiti in 1974, although every inch of his six feet-plus from north, had no ‘o’ in his name.

His saving grace was in his first name, JAnAnI, which contained his predecessor’s powerful ‘a’s and ‘i’s. This time praying: “Almighty, Almighty I.” Janani’s successor, SIlvAus WanI, continued the ‘a’s and ‘i’s capitalised on by Erika Sabiti.
Meanwhile, during this ascendance of ‘a’s and ‘i’s, the ‘o’s were boiling under the kettle until one of them, who surreptitiously spotted an ‘a’ in his name, but also several ‘o’s blew the lid off – this was Archbishop Yona Okoth. He was a krypto’a,’ but a triple ‘o’ Archbishop, whose line of ‘o’s continues to today’s Archbishop OrOmbI, who has in the final letter of his name, re-introduced the vital letter ‘i.’ The way church matters go, therefore, it is not too early to speculate whether the next Archbishop of the Church of Uganda will be an ‘o’ or an ‘a’ with sprinkling of ‘i’ etc.

When bringing this skit to a stop, the Anglican Church to which the Church of Uganda belongs, beckons two observations. Firstly, the sister primate, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kampala since the days of its first African Archbishop has also conformed to the same preference of ‘o’s, ‘a’s and ‘i’s in the names of its local heads. These are: Joseph KIwAnukA, EmmAnuel NsubugA and EmmAnuel WAmAlA.

Secondly, because the Church, which ministers on earth and in heaven is eternal, its office bearers continue to serve here and there with “Angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven.”

Therefore Nkooyoyo is not out. He continues inside, like all his predecessors and all the other servants of the church. That is why the Popes never retire.

The next round of reforms call for the re-institution of this continuing service ethic to realign it with the principal of the eternity of the church and its people.

This becomes possible when church service is stripped of worldly power and is seen as being for all and not only some.

A twist in the letters of the names of men of the cloth

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