Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda represented President Yoweri Museveni at the celebrations to mark 50 years of the existence of the Diocese of Kigezi. The function took place at Rugarama Hill in Kabale on August 20, 2017. The President praised Kigezi Diocese for being the cradle of the revival movement in Uganda and the greater Eastern Africa region. Below is the speech.
I greet you all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Celebrating five decades of God's faithfulness helps us to evaluate how far we have come on the journey of evangelism. This demonstrates how far the church has come and how far it still has to go.
I would have loved to be with you in person but due to prior national engagements, I have delegated The Rt. Hon. Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda to represent me.
I wish to congratulate Bishop Rt. Rev. Eng. George Bagamuhunda who has united the people of Kigezi beyond tribal, political and religious affiliations.
The longevity of an institution of this nature sends out a very clear message both to its members and the world. We have a church which has grown from a small beginning and a membership that has stood the test of time. I wish to thank all of you for not relenting. You have been the cornerstones upon which this church is built.
I am happy to celebrate this important historical occasion with you. 50 years of the existence of Kigezi Diocese is a very important land mark in the history of this area.
It does not only symbolise 50 years of faith in this region, but it also marks 50 years of human development and civilisation.
As you all know, Kigezi Diocese is the cradle for revival not only in Western Uganda but in the whole country and beyond. Church Of Uganda has been in existence for 140 years (1877-2017) and has evangelized the Great Lakes region, especially Rwanda, Burundi, Congo and Southern Sudan.
In 1935, there was a Convention here in Kabale that marked the first large-scale impact of the Revival Movement on Uganda.
In Buganda, Simeoni Nsibambi, the father of the whole Balokore movement, remained loyal to the Anglican Church. His brother, Blasio Kigozi followed in the footsteps. Very many people became strong allies in Evangelism. A number of Buddo graduates who had a high level of education were targeted because they wanted the profession to grow spiritually and academically. The man who quickly emerged as the leader of this group was a 28-year old Muganda working at Gahini called William Nagenda.
These people did a lot of work. They were united and their guiding principle was "One person, one Destiny." They travelled on foot and bicycles to attend missions and conventions.
What is more significant to note is that, the Revival Movement did not stop only at spreading the word of God. The revival became an instrument of civilisation in our region. Out of churches - schools, hospitals, charitable works and socio-economic projects came up which helped to further human development.
Revival vanguard families were among the first to educate children who later became instrumental in social- economic and political development of the region.
Regrettably, the Revival fires are not burning vigorously today as they were in the past. There is need for revival and renewal of these flames in our churches and society today. The church is facing erosion of moral standards and integrity.
Kigezi Diocese is a unique church with a very rich history and posterity of the foundation laid on a strong religious background, commitment and sacrifice. It was founded at a time when there was a great need for religion and civilization in this region and the country as a whole; and no doubt this church has made a great contribution to socio-economic development of the people of Kigezi in particular and Uganda in general.
It is unfortunate that a few years after the Diocese of Kigezi was formed, Idi Amin took over power and started persecuting the Church. I wish to re-sound my commendation to Kigezi Diocese and indeed the entire Church of Uganda, for standing the test of time and holding on to their faith.
We in particular remember, some of the church leaders of the Diocese of Kigezi, like the late Bishop Festo Kivengere, who, together with other Bishops, stood firmly for truth during those difficult times of the Idi Amin regime.
The church is a very important conduit for attitude change towards development. We count on you to sensitize and teach our people the value of hard work and self reliance. Your predecessors have done much and given you a strong foundation to build on and they deserve commendation.
The current time entails hard work coupled with justice and integrity taught to the next generation. That is the only way we shall preserve the nation from infiltration by the current global moral decadence. I call upon you to arise and save the country from decay.
Lastly, I urge you to uphold your treasured values of Kigezi Diocese.
With these few words, I salute you all and I wish you happy Golden Jubilee celebrations.
I thank you.
President of the Republic of Uganda