31 December 2009





1.0 Protocol

• Your Excellency, the President of the Republic of Uganda , Yoweri Kaguta and Hon. Mama Janet Museveni.
• Your Grace, the Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Uganda , Henry Luke and Mama Phoebe Orombi.
• Your Excellencies, the Ambassadors and High Commissioners.
• My brother Bishops of the Church of Uganda and your dear wives.
• The Archbishop of Gulu Archdiocese, John Baptist Odama.
• Hon. Speaker of Parliament of Uganda .
• The Chief Justice of the High Court of Uganda .
• Honorable Ministers and members of Parliament.
• The Paramount Chief of Acholi.
• The RDC’s of Gulu, Amuru, Kitgum, and Pader.
• The LC 5 Chairpersons of Gulu, Amuru, Kitgum and Pader districts.
• Members of the Provincial Assembly.
• The Provincial Secretariat Church of Uganda .
• Uganda Christian University team.
• All development partners from within and abroad.
• All the other Government dignitaries in your various capacities.
• Members of the Diocesan Synod of the Diocese of Northern Uganda .
• All Canons, Archdeacons, Clergy and Lay Readers of the Diocese of Northern Uganda .
• All other Religious Leaders present.
• All the Invited Guests.
• All members of the Organizing Committee.
• All of the Mothers Union, youth and Children present here.
• Ladies and Gentlemen.

2.0 Salutation

On behalf of my dear wife, Christine, and the children, the Christians of the Diocese of Northern Uganda and on my own behalf, I do whole heartedly extend our warm welcome to you all in your various capacities to Acholi land and to Gulu in particular.

Some of you could have crossed Karuma bridge for the first time; thank you very much for honoring us. Your presence on this historic day of our Consecration and Enthronement as the Seventh Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda is a clear demonstration of your love for us and the people of Acholi. May God bless you all.

3.0 Situational Analysis of the Diocese

The Diocese comprises of the districts of Amuru and Gulu, and has nine (9) Archdeaconries and twenty - four (24) Parishes. The Diocese is recovering from over 20 years of civil strife that saw over 1.8 million people displaced into IDPs camps for over a decade. We are glad that with the prevailing peace, our people are now beginning to settle back into their villages, for the long stay in the IDP camps negatively impacted their lives, spiritually, psychologically, socially and economically.
• The 20 years war destroyed both lives and properties, displacement of over 1.8 million and resulted into abject poverty, misery and apathy.
• HIV and AIDS has got a very high prevalence and incidences of new infection. Since AIDS was the second largest killer in the IDPs camps, it’s a time bomb among our resettling community.
• Number of orphans and vulnerable children has increased due to both war and AIDS.
• Return with its related challenges e.g. poverty, hunger, diseases, lack of shelter, orphans, disabled, ignorance, widows leading to dependency on handouts
• Land disputes among the communities are undermining the resettlement process and the economic use of the land.
• Educational standard has declined as a result of lack of teachers, poverty, and lack of infrastructure leading to high rate of school drop outs at all levels. The rate of school drop outs is even higher among the girl child and at higher level of education.
• Concentration of social service facilities in the former IDPs camps has negatively impacted on rural resettlement as the population trying to resettle find access to social service facilities difficult.
• The high level of poverty in the area has hindered most people from sending their children for higher education especially to secondary and tertiary institutions. Statistics indicate that about 96% of the rural IDPs were living below the poverty line of US $ 1 a day.
• The traditional Acholi institution, cherished dignity and social fiber have been eroded by the years of conflict.
• The high population of households made up and led by children below 18 years of age has led to the emergence of vulnerable households and the breakdown of family and community support systems and structures that used to provide for children’s education.
• Youth: Illiteracy level was at 73% of the Internally Displaced Persons above the age of 10 cannot read or write or do so with difficulties.
• There are no supportive rural economic infrastructures to attract small-scale investments to create employment for youth. They also lack marketable skills and financial services for self-employment that tends to increase youth vulnerability.
• Confinement to camp life resulted into idleness; population out burst, single headed homesteads by women and children has caused sense of loss of position and power within the family and the society formerly headed by men. There is also high level of alcohol abuse, drug abuse and domestic violence leading to moral decay.
• Children and the women are the worst affected, they bore the brunt of the war to head homes and families.
• Cultural norms have been polluted by extreme philosophies from the camps, bush, town, night commuters and teachings from LRA. which have resulted in great, confusion in the minds of the people about their culture and religion.
• The Church together with the people was displaced, suffered but has ultimately survived with the people.

The Church and the remnants are left in desperate need of settlement, recovery and development. The need to rise up cannot be under estimated or stressed enough. By the grace of God, we will rise and shine again.

4.0 Arise and Shine (Isaiah 60:1ff)

As a Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda, we will together with the clergy and the laity pursue this theme “ARISE AND SHINE” (Isaiah 60:1ff) and we shall pay special attention to it in the following areas as we recover and restore the lost glory of our people and Christians of the Diocese of Northern Uganda:

4.1 Missions and Evangelism

• Proclamation of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to all people in a holistic manner for the well being of the body, mind and soul. We shall uphold the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel…...”
• In 2 Timothy 4:2, St. Paul urges us to preach the message whether the time is good or bad but to convince, reproach, rebuke and encourage. The main focus shall be placed on discipleship, training and nurturing people in the faith using the existing structures and reviving others which include: the Youth, Mothers’ Union, Fathers’ union, Sunday school, Lay evangelists, Church Army Captains, Christian Women’s Fellowships by way of Seminars, Open Air Crusades, Worship, Conventions, Conferences, Bible Study, Fellowships and Retreats.
• We shall strengthen and support intercessory prayer ministry which shall be established in our parishes for purpose of seeking God’s favour on the people and the land, strengthening the Church through spiritual renewal and nurturing people in Christ, 2Chronicles:7:14 says “If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land”
• The three fold ministries of preaching, teaching and healing of our Lord Jesus Christ shall be at the centre of the Diocese and we shall share the Gospel in schools, hospitals, prisons, homes and everywhere.
• We shall partner with the Provincial Missions Department, Life Ministry Uganda , Alpha Uganda, African Evangelistic Enterprise, Bible Society of Uganda, Fellowship of Christian Unions-Uganda (FOCUS), Scripture Union - Uganda , Words of HOPE - Uganda Radio Ministry, Compassion International - Uganda , and the neighboring Dioceses of Lango, Kitgum, Nebbi and Madi & West Nile, other ecumenical and para - church organizations.

4.2 Responding to Human Needs through Loving Service

Our Lord Jesus Christ did not only preach but healed the sick and fed the hungry. And in John 10:10, Jesus says “I came so that they may have life and have it in abundance.”

The Church should therefore lead the way in resettlement and rehabilitation of the people now returning back home. We shall do this through the Planning and Development arm of the Diocese.

We shall partner with Government, Non - Governmental Organisations, Acholi in the Diaspora (Kampala, UK, USA, Canada) and other institutions involved in the post war recovery programmes and implementation of Peace Recovery and Development plan (PRDP) of the people of Acholi:
• By improving food security, shelter and empowering the people to work hard and produce enough food for consumption and earning income.
• By supporting vulnerable groups like widows, orphans, elderly, disabled, war victims, formerly abducted children, prisoners and their families and people affected and infected with HIV/AIDS by providing them with basic services that will help them to recover and settle well.
• On health, there are many people who are sick and with physical and psychological traumas and wounds as a result of the war. We shall use our existing church health structures e.g. St. Phillip’s dispensary and other dispensaries and health facilities in the Diocese and improve them for effective health service delivery in collaboration with the Government Ministry of Health.
• On education, we shall take an active role in improving the quality of education by paying special attention to the welfare of teachers and pupils in schools. We shall collaborate with the School Management Committees and Parents Teachers’ Associations in order to improve their capacity to offer quality education and through our Education Department work towards improving performance levels and retention rates, and reducing on drop-out rate especially for the girl-child. This too will be done in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders.

The Diocese will ensure spiritual development of our students by having well trained chaplains in all our schools. Refresher courses will be availed to those already serving as lay or ordained chaplains and school patrons.

We shall promote Adult Literacy for those who did not go to school or dropped out due to war.

And the youth who are unable to go back to school will be provided with skills that will enable them earn a living and support themselves.

4.3 Stewardship of the Earth and Environment

• We are the stewards of our bodies, our minds, our abilities, our time, our possessions, our environment and above all the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. God expects us to be faithful stewards of our lives and all that he has given us since we shall give account of our selves to him, (1 Corinthians 4:2, Romans:14:12)
• The war has affected our environment and ecological systems. In Genesis 2:15, God commands mankind to take care of the earth and its environment. We shall strive to encourage good practice of land use, tree planting, environmental conservation and all the resources that God has entrusted to us. Every Christian, every parish, every baptism and confirmation candidate will be encouraged to plant at least one tree.

4.4 Promoting Peace and Reconciliation

Although the war has ended it has left wounds and many conflicts among the people. As people return home, the issue of land is bringing conflicts, resulting in violence and blood shed. We all need to realize the need for one another, to quote Dr. Desmond Tutu “Differences are not intended to separate, and alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another” LOOK AT RELIGION “Religion is like a knife; you can either use it to cut bread or stick in someone’s back,” Or FAMILY “ You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you as you are to them” OR PEOPLE “A person is a person through other persons. None of us comes into the world fully formed. We would not know how to think, or walk, or speak, or behave as human beings unless we learnt it from other human beings. We need other human beings in order to be human. I am, because other people are. “When we see others as the enemy, we risk becoming what we hate. When we oppress others, we end up oppressing ourselves. All of our humanity is dependent upon recognizing the humanity in others.”

We shall be involved in peace building, conflict resolution, dialogue, mediation, arbitration, conciliation and advocacy in order to have a peaceful and harmonious society. Romans 12:17-18 says “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

4.5 Institutional and Infrastructural Development

As a result of the war, the Diocese suffered and the Church infrastructure collapsed, leaving the Church with no source of income.
• We shall secure and update the Diocesan Inventory and legalize/document all Diocesan assets.
• We shall improve on Church workers welfare and working conditions.
• We shall build decent places of worship. Currently there are only five Church structures in the whole Diocese. Worship is done in classrooms, or under trees or in make shift structures. We shall endeavor to complete the Cathedral Project.
• Manpower development of both the Clergy and the laity will continue to be our priority. Besides Theology, we shall encourage Clergy to train in other fields like Law, Medicine, Business, Agriculture and Engineering.
• Completion of old Diocesan Projects like the Commercial Building on Olya Road and initiating new ones for income generation will be among our priorities.
• Resource Mobilisation and Accountability: There is need for adequate, timely and reliable funding in order to implement Diocesan planned activities. All other inputs required for the implementation of the plan depend on the quantity and timely flow of funds. The Diocese will take a proactive approach to attract funding partners by developing a comprehensive resource mobilisation plan and adapt its reporting mechanism to funding partners reporting requirements.

4.6 Partnership, Networking and Collaboration

• Advocacy to scale up service delivery will receive special attention in all annual advocacy activities. The Diocese will work with all partners to articulate issues likely to hinder the post conflict missionary work, resettlement and recovery. The Diocese will develop advocacy plans that adequately address the advocacy issues identified. Advocacy will be promoted in collaboration with other partners and advocacy workshops will be conducted for staff, partners and other service providers.
• The Diocese will seek every opportunity to network and collaborate with other missionaries in and outside Uganda for short term missionary work in the Diocese in order to effectively respond to the mission gaps created by the over 20 years of war.

5.0 Appeal

• To every Ugandan to unite for purpose, reconcile with one another for long lasting peace and development of our motherland Uganda .
• To the political leaders to be compassionate to all people, shun and reject such evils as nepotism, corruption and embezzlement and become peacemakers.
• To all in the civil and public service, to serve with the spirit of selflessness, servanthood and sincere heart so that Uganda “the Pearl of Africa” may shine and be a free, peaceful and prosperous nation.
• To the clergy, to join me in the extensive work and service to God’s people entrusted to our care. I can not work alone, we need to join hands with one another to enhance the greater vision for the Lord and His Church.

I appeal that we take the Gospel seriously and lead by example as we emulate our Lord Jesus Christ that we may at the end present the Church to Christ without defect, Ephesians 5:26-27.

6.0 Appreciation

I would like to appreciate and thank you all for your contributions and making this seventh consecration in the Diocese of Northern Uganda a success.

I particularly thank you your Excellency the President of the Republic of Uganda, Mr. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, for accepting our invitation by his Grace the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda to be the Chief Guest at this important function in the lives of our people and Diocese in spite of your busy schedules. This is a clear demonstration of your love for God and the people of Acholi region. Thank you for honoring us, your Excellency.

Your Excellency, allow me also thank you for the effort you have put in bringing peace which is now prevailing in Northern Uganda , without which this function would not have taken place. May God bless you.

I would like to thank our Father in God, His Grace Henry Luke Orombi for presiding over this consecration and enthronement service together with all the Bishops present.

Special thanks and appreciation also go to the following:
• The House of Bishops for electing me as the Seventh Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda.
• The Diocesan Synod and the Nomination Committee for their selection.
• The Organizing Committee under the Chairmanship of Mr. A. A. Ongom for the time, energy and resources you put in organizing this function.
• Mr. George Nyeko for coordinating the fundraising efforts in Kampala .
• The Acholi Parliamentary group for their contributions.
• Everyone who made generous contributions to this noble cause.
• His Grace the retired Archbishop Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyooyo who requested for me and transfered me to work in Kampala Diocese.
• The Assistant Bishop, Dr. Zac and Mama Theodeore Niringiye, Bishop Elphaz and Mama Eunice Maari (retired), and all the staff of Kampala Diocesan with whom we worked till the time of my election as Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda.
• Bishop Joel and Mama Joy Obetia for conducting us through the retreat and for allowing the Lord to use you today to speak to the nation.
• I would like to acknowledge and honour all the previous Bishops of the Diocese of Northern Uganda: Bishop K. Russel, Archbishop Silvanus Wani, Archbishop Janan Luwum, Bishop Benon Ogwal (who ordained me), and Bishop Gideon Allan Oboma (who mentored me).
• I would like to sincerely thank the retired Bishop Nelson Onono - Onweng and his wife Brenda for the hard work of shepherding God’s people during the difficult time of war and for the successful hand over the mantle of leadership of the Diocese. I would continue to treasure your support and any other advice we shall need from time to time.
• Bishop Macleod Baker Ochola II who wedded us.
• Bishop Benjamin and Mama Margaret Ojwang for the practical training I received from you and for the good recommendation.
• Rev. Modicum Okello and his family for your love and for nurturing me in the faith.
• The late Mzee Elario Akena and the Palenga Kana Clan for accepting me in the Clan.
• Rev. Canon Nicholas and Mama Santuriya Odongpiny for supporting me and my family while serving as a young Deacon in Kitgum.
• All the Clergy and Christians of the Dioceses of Northern Uganda and Kitgum for your support.
• All Staff and Students of Archbishop Janani Luwum Theological College (AJLTC) where I studied as one of the pioneer students and later taught, for the support.
• The Late Yosam Lutto and family who accepted to host us in their home when we were displaced by war in 1986.
• Mr. Johnson K. Nyeko and family who have continued to support our ministry.
• The Commissioner General of Prisons and all the Staff and Christians of Luzira Prisons who supported us in our ministry there.
• The Christians of Church of the Resurrection, Bugolobi Church of Uganda where I have been serving up to my election as a Bishop.
• My friends and partners from abroad; Bristol Diocese; Christ Church Overland Park, Kansas USA; Acholi London Christian Fellowship; Prof. Ted Shiner and his Late wife Nicki, who sponsored my Degree Course at Uganda Christian University, Mukono; Dick and Veronica Dewing, Hew and Jeannette Gregory Smith, Martin and Thalia Carr, Ray and the late Margaret Jones, Dr Daniel and Ruth Muthoni Muriithi
• My father, the late Mzee Leuben and Mama Jemima Amooti Kyenkya, my brothers Eng. Charles, Henry and Sunday, and my sisters Margaret, Lucy, Betty, Lydia and Dianah for prayers encouragement and support.
• My in-laws and relatives for the love, prayer and support.
• All the friends and well wishers and all the people of God gathered here today.
• And finally to my dear wife, Christine, who is a friend, helper, companion and mother of the children. Thank you for standing with me.
• To the children Atim Hope, Amony Faith, Lamwaka Charity, Lakica Grace, Agenorwot Patience and Kipak-Rwot Peace. Thank you for not letting us down. Please keep up the spirit. As a family God has called us to this high calling of service to His people, let us continually draw our strength from Him, “For he who calls you is faithful and He will do it” 1Thessalonians 5:24.

7.0 Conclusion

As I conclude, I request you to keep us in your prayers for the task ahead of us is enormous; but together we can build and restore the dignity and spirituality of our people and nation of Uganda .

In Joel 2:25-26 the Lord says “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten…. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God who has worked wonders for you; and never again will my people be ashamed.” We shall rise and shine again.
May God grant you safe journey mercies back to your places and give you grace.

Thank you.

God bless you all. Amen.


29 December 2009

E. mail address

Some of you asked me to post my e-mail address.
I have the following addresses


Happy New Year 2010

21 December 2009

New Beginning in Northern Uganda

Johnson now the Bishop of Northern Uganda.

Sunday, 20th December, 2009

By Chris Ocowun and Dennis Ojwee

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni yesterday said reconciliation is only possible if those causing trouble repent.

“Reconciliation is possible and desirable if the troublemakers repent. Salvation in the church is possible if the trouble makers repent.”

He was responding to calls for reconciliation by Gulu district chairman, Norbert Mao, at the consecration of Rev. Canon Johnson Gakumba as the 7th Anglican bishop of the diocese of Northern Uganda.

Mao had earlier remarked that Museveni and Olara Otunnu found themselves at the same place for the first time in over two decades, the last time being when they held peace talks in 1985.

“In this holy ground today, the President and Otunnu can call themselves brothers. This enthronement has brought together two people, Museveni and Otunnu who were moving in parallel directions,” he said.

Museveni in his response said as much as the church continues to call for reconciliation, it should also ask Kony and his LRA terrorists to repent the crimes they committed against the people of northern Uganda, Congo and Southern Sudan.

He assured the mammoth crowd that Kony had been defeated and the LRA had no capacity to return to Uganda.

“I want to reassure you that the current prevailing peace in northern Uganda is irreversible and Kony will never return to disrupt it.”

He added that since the LRA fled to Garamba National Park in eastern Congo, 309 fighters have been killed, 79 fighters reported, 35 were captured and 566 abductees rescued, together with their 33 children.

“Although Kony, Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen have not yet been killed or captured, they cannot come back again to fight. We shall get them there. Or they should better surrender, like Arop. There will be no danger for them if they surrender,” he said.

Museveni lashed out at some people in northern Uganda who keep referring to the LRA leader as ‘ladit’ (Luo for ‘sir’).

“A top killer like Kony, you call him ladit! Kony is a laneko (killer). Why should you call a terrorist ladit? No, Kony is not ladit because he is a terrorist who has been killing Ugandans for the last 20 years and he has not stopped or repented.”

The President said if anybody wants anything, all ways are spelt out in the Constitution but not through terrorism or threats. He also cautioned that the army has matured today and terrorism is out of the question.

Museveni said Mao, as a young politician, should stop running here and there but instead join him, as his father, and use yat ma tiyo (medicine that works) to find solution to problems.

He advised the people of Gulu to consolidate the current peace and fight theft of NAADS and NUSAF funds by reporting corrupt officials.

“I appeal to you to give information. You will get a lot of service. Gulu district alone gets sh27b annually while Amuru district fetches sh15b. This money can make a big impact in your life,” he said.

Museveni later pledged to help the people of Northern Uganda diocese construct their cathedral. He donated a new Pajero Mitsubishi vehicle worth sh110m to the new bishop for his pastoral duties.

The consecration of the new bishop was presided over by the Anglican Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Henry Luke-Orombi, and assisted by all 34 Anglican bishops. Also present was the Catholic Archbishop for Gulu, John Baptist Odama.

24 November 2009

More than 30 Bishops to attend the Consecration in Gulu

The chairman Construction explaining the development on the bishop residence
Three heads together: Bishop Nelson, Canon Aaron and the Bishop Elect looking at some document for the consecration

By Rev. Willy Akena
With just about 25 days to the Consecration and Enthronement of the New Bishop of the Diocese of northern Uganda, the Rev. Canon Johnson Gakumba, the office of the Archbishop of Church of the province of Uganda assigned the Provincial Secretary Rev. Canon Aaron Mwesigye to come to Gulu and prepare the way.
While meeting members of the organizing committee for the consecration, the Rev. Canon Aaron said “I have come to encourage and motivate you” he added that he has come just like John the Baptist, to prepare the way for the House of Bishops and the consecration and Enthronement of Canon Johnson Gakumba. He added that more than 30 bishops have already shown interest to attend the consecration which will start with the house of bishops meeting on 18th December 2009. So far 23 visitors from the UK, 10 from Germany, 3 from America, 1 from Canada, about 200 from Luzira, 1 bus from Masindi, 2 buses from Madi West Nile Diocese, more than 30 clergy and their wives from Kampala Diocese.
The Chairman Organizing committee Hon. A.A Ongom said the budge for the function is 292 million Uganda shillings and that the two big items on the budget are :- Bishop’s residence at 89 million and transport (vehicle) at 90 million. The chairman added that the two items seems to be a real challenge for the committee.
The following were the key areas that the Provincial Secretary came to check:-Distribution of Invitation cards, Venue for the Consecration and Enthronement/ Reception, Accommodation for the Bishops and other guest, Budget, Bishop’s residence, vehicle for the Bishop, Vestment, Order of Service, and retreat centre.

The chairman Construction explaining the development on the bishop residence
As the people are just coming our of the war situation, their capacity is limited, but they are trying their best to host the consecration and enthronement. You are welcome to support us to have a successful function.

The Bishop’s residence currently under renovation was build in 1934

Chairman Organisning Committee Treasurer Chairman Finance
AA Ongom 0752434686 Eliakim O.Oyo 0774309818 Mark Avola 0772494881

Publicity and Secretariat
Rev. Willy Akena 0772667334

06 November 2009


Beatrice Atuku formerly abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army is one of the many who benefited from the sewing machine scheme. She is currently teaching in a vocational School and at the same time a tailor.

Ocwer Esther is one of the most successful beneficiaries of the sewing machine, she is in Gulu Town and they are making bags for export to European Countries

Most of the students at the Women Development Centre had no proper source of income for survival before their training. Some of the students were abducted by the Rebels of the Lords Resistance Army. And as a result, they missed formal education, parental care, and came back child mothers or even disabled. After training at the women development centre for one year, the students are ready to start earning a leaving. For about two weeks the o-coordinator Women Development Centre Rev.Willy Akena took his time off to visit some of the former students of the women Development Centre. He compiled the pictorial presentation of a few of them, as seen in the pictures.

Every day I get up, I am sure of at least 2000 (two thousands shillings), Said Esther who is now hiring a small room in the town. In their room which is about 4 meters by 3, Esther and her three occupants (all tailors) are very busy making hand bags. The bags are made of local materials. According to Esther, their bags are exported to European Countries. Here, I also met a former students Aya Sarah, who although has not benefited from the sewing machine from the Women Development Centre, but has got a sewing machine. Currently a sewing machine can be hired at a monthly fee of 8,000 (eight thousand shillings only). When asked why they are able to export the bags, Esther said some Europeans just make orders.
We wish to thank very much Elsabeth and her Church in Denmark for their contributions towards the sewing machines for the students at the Women Development Centre. So far a total of 42 Students have benefited from this scheme. We hope more will continue to benefit. At the moment we have 56 Students at the Centre and they are due to finish their course at the end of this month. The idea is that the students provide at least 25% of the total cost of the machines. As I write now, 10 students have already paid their 25% cost share for the machines. Attached is the list of the students and their location as well as some telephone contacts.

21 October 2009


Bishop Nelson, Bishop Elect Canon Johnson Gakumba and Brenda talking over tea.

Bishop Joel Obatia and Bishop Nelson shares light moment after the opening address at Emmanuel Cathedral Arua Thursday 15, 2009

By Rev. Willy Akena
The Bishop of Madi West Nile, Rt. Rev. Joel Obatia has commended Bishop Nelson for his exemplary leadership during this period of transition. Bishop Joel was on Thursday 15 October addressing members of staff from the Diocese of Northern Uganda who were in Madi West Nile Diocese for a three days retreat. The theme for the retreat is “Best approach to Transition”. The Bishop Elect, Rev. Canon Johnson Gakumba is being introduced to the staff and the activities carried out and plans for the coming years. The staff pledged their commitment to work with their new Bishop just like they did with Bishop Nelson. In his key note address, Bishop Joel said during transition, different reactions is expected, some people will be excited, others disappointed, and others just pull away. Bishop Joel said, “Nelson led the diocese during the most traumatic time” and that the New Bishop is coming at a time when Northern Uganda is entering into a new life. The bishop concluded by saying that the Diocese of Northern Uganda is leading the way in transition and that Madi West Nile should follow. On his part Bishop Nelson appealed to his brother bishops not to forget about the retired bishops. A total of 34 Staff attended this retreat

01 September 2009

If he could touch inmates, he can touch the wounded north

The story below appeared in the Observer of Wednesday 26 August 2009
Just to let you get information about our Bihsop Elect. A must read.

The Bishop Elect will certainly minister to people like this family in the picture


Written by Michael Mubangizi
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 22:37
If Rev. Canon. Johnson Gakumba had a choice, he would have voted someone else as Bishop of Northern Uganda Diocese, but the House of Bishops, considered the humble Gakumba the right man for the job.

The House of Bishops on August 8, 2009, elected Gakumba Bishop of Northern Uganda. He will be consecrated on December 20, 2009 at St. Philips Cathedral, Gulu replacing Rt. Rev. Nelson Onono Onweng.

Currently a Vicar at the Church of the Resurrection, Bugolobi Church of Uganda, Gakumba told The Observer, “I never expected it; in fact I prayed against it. There are people with Masters and higher qualifications than me,” says Gakumba who has a bachelor’s degree in Theology.

Because of that, Gakumba says he was hesitant to submit his CV and only yielded at the insistence of the Diocesan Secretary of the Northern Uganda Diocese.

“Serving as a Bishop in a place like Northern [Uganda] is not easy but I can’t betray the confidence of the House of Bishops and I am sure by God’s grace I will do the work.”

Gakumba likens his reluctance to be a Bishop to an aversion expressed by people like David, Moses, and Jeremiah who according to the Bible tried to evade God’s calling.

“I think it is human to always give excuses. You remember Jeremiah and Moses said they didn’t know how to speak.”

Although he has served in Kampala diocese for the last seven years, Gakumba says he has since his ordination been a staff of Northern Uganda Diocese where he was installed as a canon. Gakumba is a humble, soft-spoken man. During the interview, I had to be extra attentive not to miss a word because he spoke in low tones.


Born in 1959 in Masindi, Gakumba lost his father at an early age and was raised by Mr and Mrs Leuben Kyenkya.
“My father died when I was young, I am unable to know how old I was when he died,” says Gakumba, who was hesitant to talk about his early life.

He however recalls that he started smoking at an early age copying Kyenkya (RIP) whom he kept referring to as his father during the interview. “He always sent me to light his cigarettes. That is how I became addicted to smoking to a point where I couldn’t sleep without smoking.”

Gakumba’s education was often disrupted because he lacked school fees. This explains why he has no ordinary level certificate. Because Kyenkya couldn’t afford fees, after his primary education, Gakumba went to Kenya with Kyenkya’s daughter who had offered to educate him there.

But this was never to be as she lost her husband in an accident which ended Gakumba’s academic pursuits.
Gakumba had to look for his school fees and upkeep. “That is how I resorted to all ways of surviving. I did all sorts of jobs including being a shamba boy in Kenya.”

It is this lifestyle that Gakumba says exposed him to, “moving out in discos, drinking, sexual immorality…” However this was short-lived as he got saved in 1979 which he says was a triumph over these vices.


He later returned with Rev. Modicum Okello, a priest from Northern Uganda who was a Deacon at St. Christopher Church (Nakuru-Kenya) where Gakumba served as a Sunday school teacher.
It was upon his return in Gulu that he joined priesthood.

He joined Archbishop Janan Luwum Theological College (Gulu) for a provincial certificate in Theology where he wrote an entry examination because he had no O level certificate.
His entry into priesthood was a dream come true.

“I wanted to be a pastor because I thought men of God are holy. I also wanted to put on a collar.” But after his years of priesthood, Gakumba says not all church ministers are holy.
“I have discovered that not all of them are holy. Some of them preach what they don’t practice.”

This has also been educative.
“It has taught me that no human institution is perfect, including the church.”
Gakumba also holds a diploma and degree in Theology.

Gakumba recalls serving as Deputy Principal at St. Janani Luwum Theological College Gulu when he only had a Diploma, to the chagrin of people with more qualifications.

In fact his degree programme was sponsored by some of the white tutors at the college, who were impressed by his work and wanted him to overcome that academic shortcoming.


As kids grow up, they have childhood dreams but this wasn’t the case with Gakumba because of a difficult childhood.
“I was struggling to survive, meeting immediate needs, how could I have long term dreams? I had left that to chance.”

Gakumba however says because of his calm, peaceful, non-confrontational demeanour, people often said he would make a good pastor.
He adds that when he stopped joining colleagues for drinking sprees, some of them remarked rather prophetically, “leave him, he wants to be a bishop.”

Gakumba also talks of a lady who always addressed him as Rt. Rev., a prefix for Bishops, which he now holds.
“I never took them seriously but now I think people can prophesy. So there is power in tongues.”

After his ordination in 1984, he was posted to (All Saints Church Kitgum) as a deacon for one year. He has also served at Christ Church Gulu from where former Archbishop Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo in May 2002 transferred him to Luzira Prisons as a Chaplain until his transfer to Church of the Resurrection Bugolobi Church of Uganda last year.

“Before my posting, people looked at being transferred to Luzira as a punishment but I left it attractive to serve in Luzira.”
He however admits its problematic preaching to inmates without offending them.

He was however consoled by Bible stories about prisoners, “we are all prisoners of sin that is why Jesus said, He would come to set captives free.”
Noting an unforgiving heart between inmates and people they allegedly wronged, Gakumba started a peace making course which he said yielded forgiveness between inmates and their accusers.


He says he will take this gospel with him to Northern Uganda where he foresees need for reconciliation.
He also says people need to engage in income generating activities to overcome poverty.
This is part of his challenges, “I will have to look after myself, my clergy and the flock who are poor because they have spent many years in camps.”

But he also sees opportunities in his posting. He says the restoration of peace and the displaced peoples’ return to their homes is an opportunity, “for evangelism and ministry.”


So will he fit in out-going Bishop Onono Onweng’s shoes?
“I will go with my shoes. He has done his best and I will be judged after my tenure.”
Onono has in his numerous roles also been involved in the South Sudan mediated Juba peace talks under the Acholi Religious Leaders’ Peace initiative.

Gakumba says he is not new to the peace process. He says he was part of the religious leaders that formed the “Acholi for Peace and Reconciliation Movement” which transformed into the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace initiative.
Gakumba is married to Christine Oroma, the mother his six children.

Nicholas Kisakye, the Head of the Laity at the Church of the Resurrection Bugolobi Church of Uganda says they will miss Gakumba.
“He has been a wonderful pastor, a team player, a listener and problem solver.”

Kisakye adds that Gakumba identifies people’s gifts and talents and either advise them on how to exercise them or give them opportunity to use them which he says will make him a good Bishop.

Gakumba believes his deprived childhood has been a blessing in disguise.
“It has taught me to have a heart for the needy, orphans and to value people irrespective of their class.”

Looking at his journey from Shamba boy to Bishop, Gakumba is best placed to advise against judging people by their present stature.

Johnson Gakumba rises from orphanhood to bishop

Picture by Rev.Willy Akena
I found this article in the New Vision of Wednesday, 19th August, 2009 . Thought you might be interested to read

By Dennis Ojwee

Humility and joyous disposition are the most outstanding characteristics that strike you when you first meet him.

The joyous reception he gives you leaves you with no doubt that he is indeed a man chosen by God to serve his flock.

Rev. Canon Johnson Gakumba, 49, is the bishop-elect of the Diocese of Northern Uganda (DNU), a top priestly position he never dreamed would be his, especially given that he grew up as an orphan.

Born on February 25, 1959 at Kiswata Village, Kihuba Parish in Masindi District, Gakumba was raised by the late Leoben Kyenkya after both his parents died.

Unfortunately, Kyenkya, who also died, will miss his adopted son’s consecration as bishop in December this year.

After his guardian’s demise, Kakumba stayed in Rev. Modicum Okello’s home, both at Mican in Gulu Municipality and later in the UK.

He returned to Uganda from the UK in 1980 and settled in Acholi sub-region, where he learnt to speak Luo fluently. Gakumba considers himself a true Acholi. He began life in priesthood in 1980 at Bobi Parish in Gulu Municipality, before his pastoral assignments at All Saints Church in Kitgum in 1984.

His first wife died in 2000, with whom they had four daughters: Hope Atim, a graduate of Makerere University, employed as a social worker, Faith Amony, Grace Lakica, now in S.4 and Charity Lamwaka. He married his second wife, Christine Oroma-Gakumba, an Acholi from Omoro County, Gulu in December 2001. The couple is blessed with two daughters: Ageno-Rwot and Peace Kipak-Rwot.

“I feel humble upon being elected bishop by the House of Bishops. This is a heavenly call and a big responsibility.

I have to commit myself to serving God and my people diligently with complete dedication, especially since they have suffered for over 23 years because of war,” says Gakumba.

As a young person, being an orphan never derailed him from being a dedicated Christian who kept his faith until he was baptised in 1974 at the age of 15. He was later confirmed as a true Christian believer and Soldier of Christ five years later in 1979.

He got born-again shortly after he had been ordained as a priest at All Saints’ Church in Kitgum Town Parish. Gakumba was the fourth Vicar of Christ Church Town Archdeaconry for two years from 2000 to 2002, where he launched his first development planning project of expanding the church premises.

He also served as the Chaplain of St. Francis Church, Luzira Government Prisons in Kampala Diocese in 2003.

His canonisation took place at St. Philip’s Cathedral in Gulu in 2007. From 2008, he served as Canon and Vicar of the Church of Resurrection-Bugolobi.

Gakumba promises cooperation with all the clergy who will serve under his spiritual leadership.

“I will work with the priests, the laity and all Christians to revive our diocese and restore the hope and faith of our Christians through God’s wisdom and blessings.

Let us, therefore, join hands in achieving this noble cause in order to please God and his people,” Gakumba says.

His consecration is slated for December 20, 2009 at Mican in Gulu Municipality, at which President Yoweri Museveni is expected as the chief guest.

Fact File
- 1997-2000: Bachelor’s degree in divinity at Uganda Christian University-Mukono
- 1991-1993: Diploma in Theology from Bishop Tucker’s Theological College-Mukono
- 1981-1983: Provincial certificate in theology from Archbishop Janani Luwum Theological College-Gulu Diocese
- 1977: Primary Leaving Certificate - Kyeema Primary School

Other responsibilities
- 1996-1997: Deputy Principal of Archbishop Janani Luwum Theological College
- 1995 -1996 college’s principal
- 1994-1997: Head of Lay Readers’
Training Programme in college
- 1984-1985: Assistant Vicar in All Saints Church in Kitgum
- 1983: Ordained priest
- 1980: Lay Reader at Bobi Parish-Gulu

19 August 2009

Bishop Elect arrives in Gulu

Bishop Nelson Onono-Onweng whispering to the Bishop Elect Canon Johnson Gakumba during the informal service at Christ Church in Gulu

The Bishop Elect Rev. Canon Johnson Gakumba on arrival in Koro about 8 Kilometers from Gulu Town
usiness in Gulu town came to a stand still on Saturday 15, August 2009 as the Bishop Elect Rev. Canon Johnson Gakumba arrived in the town. A convoy of about 40 vehicles paralyzed the town, with brass band leading the procession into Gulu town. Jubilant crowd escorted the Bishop Elect along the Kampala- Gulu Highway. The over 8 Kilometers welcome was one of the unique events in the history of this town that had known only war for the past years. Thank God the prevailing peace has given people opportunity to regain their lost glory. The Acholi are well known for their cultural dances and making sweet ululations. While speaking to a mammoth congregation that assembled at St. Philips Cathedral on Sunday 16, August 2009, the Rev. Canon Johnson said he had lots of reservation in sending his curriculum vitae, until the Diocesan Secretary asked him if he wanted to be like Jonah in the Bible who wanted to run away from the mission placement to Nineveh.
Congratulatory Messages: On behalf of the clergy, the Diocesan Staff, Christians in the Diocese of Northern Uganda and on my own behalf, I congratulate you for your successful election of being the 7th Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda. Seven is a perfect number according to Jews and your ministry to the people will be a perfect one. Please be strong and of good courage (read Joshua 1:6-7) May God help you as you take up the new task assigned to you by our Almighty God. Yours sincerely in the Lord's service

Rev. Canon Ayela Okot O.L

Mothers Union:-Pwoc ma oa ki bot dul pa Mothers Union me Diocese. Bishop ma kiyero manyen, Rev. Canon Johnson Gakumba. Ma ka wang mon me Mothers Union me Kineno man, mukwongo wacwalo pwocwa bot Lubanga muketo polo ki lobo pi tic me aura ma en otiyo pi kineno man me yero in me bedo laneno manyen. Pwoc madit wacwalo boti Rev.Canon Johnson, pi ye lwongo ma Lubanga olwongi iye. Ladit, Lubanga aye ma ocimo in me bedo ma latic pi kineno man. I dongo I Gulu i cako kwan me tic pa Lubanga nio ka idoko ladit kanica. Amiti ami caden I komi, In lakwat maber ma to pi romi mere. I kare ma piny rac I lobo me Acholi in pe iloko ngeyi me ngwec, iye me too I kin romi meri, man onyuto mar, tek cwiny ki diyo cwiny pi lwaki ma I kineno man. Kwiri ni waneno I tic ma itiyo I Kitgum ki Christ Church. Lubanga pe cimo dano ata, ongiyo in matut ci omiyo owok ki bot jo ma gin gubolo nyingi, wapwoyo jo ducu me nomination committee, kacel ki ot pa luneno. Walego Lubanga me gwoki, medo ryeko, ki onyo gum I komi I kare me keti I kom. Deyo obed bot Lubanga. Amen. Vice President Mothers Union. Mrs Mary Ocan.
On my behalf and my family, on behalf of the assistant Vicars, Catechist, Church wardens/side women, parish council, mothers Union, youth, Sunday school teachers and the entire congregation of St. Philips Cathedral, I would like to sincerely congratulate you for being elected the 7th Bishop of this diocese. We welcome you and your family all heartedly. We pray to the Almighty God to protect, keep you and provide you wisdom to lead his people as Joshua did. God is with you. Be determine and courageous (Joshua 1:1-9). Vicar St. Philips Cathedral Rev. James Okoyo.
Dear Bishop Elect,
It was on Saturday August 8, 2009 when the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda elected you to be the seventh Bishop in succession in the Diocese of Northern Uganda.
On behalf of my family, the clergy, the laity, the entire Diocese and my own behalf, I heartedly congratulate you for being called as the chief shepherd.
I trust God the Father of Jesus Christ who by His grace and mercy has called you into church leadership in an area which has a history of revolt against the Government and has been a place of long rebellion will not leave you alone.
It is now approximately 20 years when the people began to return from exile. Your task is to restore the faith and prosperity of the people. The God of compassion will rescue the people from both political and spiritual oppression (Isaiah 14:1-2) and their restoration is like a new Exodus (43: 2, 16-19; 52:10-12)
Therefore the theme of “Highway" for the return of exiles is to be prominent in your leadership (Isaiah 40:3).
Now move on forward with the people like a school of fish in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Yours in His service,
Rt. Rev. Nelson Onono-Onweng
Message from the Bishop’s Elect. Greetings to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Thank you for the very ENCOURAGING message from you and the Clergy of DNU .I personally felt am not the best candidate God always uses the weak to a shame the strong. Since it is God who has called me out of the many to be an overseer I want to assure all the clergy and the Christians who still doubt that the Lord who has called us as family, is able and faithful and he will accomplish His mission through us .Our God does not make mistakes. I see myself as a team leader and servant not a LORD.
It is my prayer that the Lord will give us spirit of unity and love. The Bible says in 1 John 4:20 that "if any says he loves God, yet he hates his brother, he is a lier..." we can’t preach love which we don’t practice. As the chief shepherd my desire is that we shall be one. No one should feel excluded in Gods house .There is room in my father’s house.
Yes the tasks ahead are challenging but together working as team we can.
May God bless you and my love to all.
I look forward to coming home soon.
Yours in the Love of Christ

09 August 2009

Northern Uganda gets new Bishop

The house of bishop elected the Rev. Canon Johnson Gakumba as the new bishop of the diocese of northern Uganda replacing Bishop Nelson Onono-Onweng. The consecration and enthronement is set for December 20th 2009 at St. Philips Cathedral Gulu. Rev. Canon Johnson was a Vicar at Bugolobi church of Uganda in Kampala until his election.
Congratulations Canon Johnson

Rev. Willy Akena

12 July 2009

In loving memory of Blandina Oboma

Mrs Blandina Oboma died on 30th June, 2009 at 6:30 am at the age of 69. Burial took place at St.Philips Cathedral Gulu. Below is her Life History. She was suffering from Diabetic and Hypertension.

Life History of Mama Blandina Aceng Oboma
Her Parents

Mama Blandina Acheng Oboma was born on 1st January 1940 to Mr. Bulasio Okello of Atyak Pupwonya Gaya Parubanga.

Her life and Education
1950-1954 (P1-P4) she studied at Keyo Primary School while staying at Mr. and Mrs Ocacimo O Onyac who was the Headmaster of that School. They were well looked after together with other children.

1955-1956 (P5-P6) she moved to Atyak Pupwonya Church of Uganda Primary School and studied P5-P6 and sat the Primary Leaving Examination and passed very well and Mr. Sylvester Ayo Otogo was the Headmaster of that school.
1956-1957 She was admitted to St. Monica’s Girls’ Junior Secondary School where she studied junior secondary one and two.

1958 She studied at St. Hilda’s Teachers College for Women specializing in teaching infants. It was a one year course.
1959 She was posted to teach at Koch Goma Church of Uganda Primary School where she taught for one year. The Headmaster was A.O. Ociti 11. While there, she also taught some adults at Community Development. She taught Reading and Writing, etc.
1960-1961 As she had just been married traditionally to Gideon Allan Oboma, both of them were transferred to Namukora Church of Uganda Primary School. Gideon A. Oboma was appointed the Headmaster of the School.

20th June 1960 They wedded in Holy Marriage Matrimony at Namukora Church, officiated over by Rev. Eromiya D Ogony who was the parish priest of Omiya Anyima Parish which extended as far as Opari in Southern Sudan. Their matron was Miss Filda Adoch who was teaching at Akilok. She was then married to Silvano Oloya the late, who was also a school teacher. The best man was Mr. Wilson Kitara the late who was teaching at Omiya- Anyima Church of Uganda Primary School.

1962-1975 She taught at Atyak Pupwonya Church of Uganda Primary School where both of them were transferred.
1976-1982 Blandina taught at Gulu Primary School.

September 1982 She accompanied her husband and they went to Trinity College, Bristol, England where she studied for a Certificate in Theology.
1983-1984 They moved to Oak Hill Theological College in North London UK. She continued with her studies along side her husband. She studied Church History and other subjects. She also studied Mothers’ Union work.

June 1984 She returned to Uganda leaving her husband Bishop Gideon to continue with his studies at Oak Hill Theological College. She continued to teach in various ways. They started the first tailoring school in Gulu Together with Mrs. Rachael Obol the late.

1985-1987 The daughter of Canon Mac Baker Ochola 11, Joyce Adong died after abduction. Canon and his family were returning from Canada where he has completed his Theological Studies.

4th May another death occurred at the home of Bishop Gideon and his wife Blandina. Three members of their family were killed in cold blood. The three people were their son Barnabus Rwot Okonya who was in senior 3 in Gulu High School, Jacob Ocen and Pauline his wife. They died leaving Miriam a baby girl of only three months old.
May, 1887 The Archbishop at that time Dr. Yona Okoth arranged and airlifted us to Entebbe; first Gideon and some children, then later Blandina and some children of Bishop Canon Mac. Baker Ochola 11 who as the Diocesan Secretary at that time they were returning from Canada.

The Archbishop hosted Bishop Gideon and his family for three months after which they moved to Bishop Tucker Theological College where they were displaced for three years. The Bishop of Mukono diocese then the Rt. Rev. Livingstone M. Nkoyoyo allowed them to perform their pastoral ministry in confirmation services. Nkoyoyo later become Archbishop of the Church of Uganda.

1988 Mama Blandina and Bishop Gideon A Oboma attended the Lamberth Conference at Canterbury University in UK.
15th June, 1990 Mama Blandina and Bishop Gideon with their chidren returned to Gulu to continue with their pastoral ministry to the Diocese of Northern Uganda which was the entire Acholi sub region.

Mama Blandina A Oboma was elected Mothers’ Union President which she did for six years. They really worked very well covering the diocese. Together with the Mother’s Union Worker at that time, they are still remembered for what they did.
1993 They visited United Kingdom for some few months. They then visited the Mary Surmer House, the Headquarters of the Mothers’ Union in London UK.

November, 2008-March 2009 Blandina and Bishop Gideon visited United Kingdom. As the weather was bad Blandina was not quite well and she did not travel much. When they returned her health did not improve much.

On June 27th 2009 she spend a night in Gulu referral Hospital and on 28th June she was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor. There was no improvement on her health.
ON 30th June, 2009 at 6:30 am on St. Peter’s day, Mama Blandina went to her Lord and Saviour. She left behind four biological children, two girls and two boys and indeed many children whom she had been caring for.

She had been a very hard working, dedicated, faithful, loving, caring and friendly lady. She died in Christ and may she rise in glory. May Praise and Glory be to Him. Amen

04 June 2009

Capacity Building at the Women Development Centre

Apiyo Monica (L) and Adong Kevin Odwong are among those who have already reported for 2nd Term 2009
The Diocesan Secretary Rev.Canon Ayela Okot Othniel Labeja shortly after handing over a certificate of attendance to Ajok Joyce (R), Irene Ayo is looking at the certificate and the Chairperson Women Development Centre Mrs. Jennifer Buruto (L)
End of May updates from the Women Development Centre 2009
As part of capacity building at the Women Development Centre (WDC), a four days training on professionalism was conducted at the Diocesan headquarters. The training attracted all the tutors of the WDC. The facilitators Irene Can and Ojok Anthony came from St. Monica Centre in Gulu. The following key areas were covered: - Teacher’s Professional Code of Conduct and Criteria, Scheme of Work, Lesson plan and Assessment
While closing the training, the Diocesan Secretary Rev. Canon Ayela called upon the teachers to exhibit the highest level of professionalism in order to have a positive impact on the learners. “Teachers who practice what they teach gain respect from the students” The Rev Canon said. He cited an example of a teacher who used to command lots of respect, lost it miserably after his trouser felt off in front of the pupils due to drankardness. The affected teacher requested for transfer immediately, because of the embarrassment he was having.

There is plan to organize another training for the tutors in other areas. In another related development, second term opens Monday 25, May 2009 with low turn up in most school in the district. At the WDC, by Friday 30, May 2009 only 30 students had reported. When asked why some of the students have not yet come, one of the student, Apiyo Sunday said, “The current rain is affecting the turn up, with some student very busy in their gardens, preparing fields, planting, while others weeding”. Another student said the low turn up is due to inability to raise some of the requirement for personal effect.

Information reaching us is that Akello Vicky is not able to report early because she is nursing her child who got burnt during the holidays. The Head girl, Grace Anek lost a relative and still with the bereaved family. We still expect more students to report.

06 May 2009

Graduation at Women Development Centre

The Mothers Union Worker, Mrs Christine Abia hands over a new sewing machine to Akello Scovia upon completion of her course at WDC.

Like the disciples of Jesus Christ, the 12 students of the WDC hold their certificates

This is where we start from”, Apiyo Kevin excites Bishop Nelson with her display of her first product as year one at the WDC (dress made out of used cement bags) Brenda Onono and Mrs. Piramoi (Centre) taking their turn too.
Welcome to the latest update from the Women Development Centre (WDC) April/May 2009
By Rev. Willy Akena

07 April 2009

Updates from Women Development Centre

The students enjoying their Lunch

On of the many meeting that took place at the centre

Staff and some students of the WDC pose for a photograph in front of the classroom. Front line from left: - Rev. Willy Akena(Co-ordinator), Christine Odyek(Matron), Margaret Odong Care Taker of Children), Hellen Omon(Tutor), Apiyo Lucy(Principal), Joyce Ajok(Tutor), Oryema Justine Odo (Tutor Designing)
Welcome to the Latest updates from Women Development Centre. April 2009
Christian greetings from the Women Development Centre!! First term for the new students is soon coming to an end. We thank all those who supported us during the initial period of opening of the centre. A number of activities were carried out namely; board meetings, interview and recruitment of new staff and Purchase of equipment for the new students.
With the help of God we have been able to maintain all the 63 Students who have joined the centre for the 2009 course. We have 12 students who are left with only two weeks to complete their course.
We also received a good second hand Motorcycle DT 125 UAC 477Y from the Diocese. A brand new one can cost about eight million Uganda shillings. Many thanks to the Diocesan authority and all those who supported us.Prayer items this month. 1. Pray that we may be able to get toys for the children of these mothers.
2. Pray that we may be able to get stipend for some of our staff.
God bless you and continue to pray with us.

27 February 2009

Smile and Laughter in Northern Uganda

By Rev.Willy Akena
There is Acoli saying, Gin caka pe moko odeyo, meaning what you are given each day has no impact. Yes, skill training is good but has little impact if you have no tools. It is like getting food stuff for a meal each day. But when you have a tool like sewing machine, your training would have some impact that is why Ajok Beatrice one of the victims of the Lord’s Resistance War says now she has a reason to smile after it was announced to her that she will benefit from a sewing machine fund. The fund is a direct involvement of Elsebeth Højgaard from Denmark who has a passion for the former war victims.
The news we have is that the students at the Women Development Centre will all receive a sewing machine upon completion of their training.
While speaking to the beneficiaries Elsebeth said her people in Kingos Church had contributed what they could so that others benefit. She challenged the former students to do like wise. “In the same way we want you to contribute what you have so that others will also benefit”. The idea is for the Old Students of WDC to contribute something small towards the cost of the sewing machines. What you will pay will go back to the sewing machine funds, and will be spent for purchase of sewing machines only. The contribution from Kingos Church pays for 75% of the total cost and the students are to pay 25%. This is a kind of Micro Finance Scheme, where you do not just receive something for free but you contribute and thus own it.
Bishop Nelson Onono-Onweng appealed to the beneficiaries to make proper use of the machines. It is absurd to note that as a result of the peace prevailing in Northern Uganda some people have resorted to sleeping without doing serious work to support themselves. The Bishop cautioned the young ones to avoid having too many children as it leads to chronic poverty.

During the visit to the Women Development Centre, Elsebeth divided her time between interacting with the students and attending board meetings.

This year we have a total of 62 new students at the Centre. They are mainly child mothers, formerly abducted children some orphans and girls who are unable to continue with formal education because of lack of money to pay school fees.

The center is grateful to Elsebeth Højgaard, Kingos Church in Denmark, Danish Uganda Friendship Association (DUFA), the Mothers Union, Diocese of Northern Uganda of the Province of Church of Uganda and DANIDA for their support.

The WDC appeals to well-wishers to come in and support feeding of the students and payment of some of the staff who are not catered for in the DANIDA funding.

Let the child mothers together with their children benefit with your support to feed them. Remember, one by one makes a bundle. Thank you for your consideration to support us.

WOMEN DEVELOPMENT CENTRE, DIOCESE OF NORTHERN UGANDA, P.O BOX 232 GULU UGANDA, TEL: + 256 (0) 772 667 334, E-mail. dnu@utlonline.co.ug/akenawilly@yahoo.co.uk
Blogs: www.dioceseofnorthernuganda.blogspot.com

27 January 2009

Northern Uganda leading from behind

A team from Bristol visited Gulu recently. The visit came at a time when Bishop Nelson is saying bye bye to the Christians of the Diocese. The Rev'd Canon Stuart Taylor who has a heart for the people of Amuru accompany Bishop Nelson to Amuru Parish in the New District of Amuru. 147 Christians were confirmed and Canon Stuart baptized seven (7) children. Rev'd Philip Rowe, Rev's Chris Dobson and Walter Dirks joined Canon Stuart in Gulu for two days. They visited returned sites, camps and world vision. Amuru district emerged as the last in the recently released Primary Leaving Examinations. Out of the 92 District in the country Amuru led from behind. A sensible person may ask why? The obvious reason is the long war that has seriously affected this place. Other related reasons could be: - poor personnel, lack of interest by teachers, pupils and parents. Infrastructure is an obvious blame. Unless something is done now, the trend may not change easily. For the whole district to get only one first grade is a nightmare.

Harvest or something else

Yesterday marked 23 years of Museveni's rule as our President. One of the key issue in his address was Northern Uganda. There is relative peace and people are returning to their homes. We pray the trend continues.
Below is an extract from the New Vision-government owned paper.

NEWS | January 26, 2009
UPDF parades rescued abductees

With Achayo, a three-month-old baby suckling from her breasts, Ms Jacqueline Apio, 21, is sandwiched between two UPDF soldiers and a young Sudanese girl.

Ms Apio looks pensive and uncertain about what the future and the four parentless girls who are under her care. Like Anek, who is one-and-half-years-old and Akello, one-year-old, Achayo lost both her parents on Friday last week. Her parents were part of a group of Lord’s Resistance Army rebel fighters who were killed on Friday by the UPDF in an area between Duru and Suke, in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo.

An abductee, only freed by the army last week, Ms Apio has taken the mantle of raising four children on her own. Despite the insurmountable challenge, apart from breast feeding her own daughter, Achiro, aged 1, Ms Apio is sharing her breast milk with Achayo.

Excited by camera flashes from a battery of journalists, Achayo stopped suckling from Ms Apio’s breast, licked her fingers and gazed at the reporters called to the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) headquarters in Kampala yesterday to witness the arrival of former LRA abductees, before she recoiled in her strange mother’s breasts.

One of the adopted children, Anek, is visibly distraught. She sustained a bullet wound on her left leg and is being treated by the army doctors, officials said. “Our soldier wanted to save Anek. He ordered her father to surrender but he refused. He held her with one hand while another held a gun. He wanted to shoot but the soldier shot him and the bullet that killed the father got her on the leg,” said Capt. Deo Akiiki, the publicist of the UPDF’s latest military offensive against the LRA, dubbed “Operation Lightning Thunder”.

Ms Apio, the four adopted children and the young Sudanese girl were flown from Dungu, the UPDF tactical headquarters in DRC to Kampala to be reunited with their next of kin, according to CMI chief Brig. James Mugira. “This is the horrific situation our people are exposed to by Joseph Kony,” said Brig. Mugira, as Achayo and Achiro competed for Ms Apio’s attention.

Apio said when the UPDF attacked their hideout, the rebel fighters ran away in disarray, leaving women and children helplessly behind. Speaking through an army interpreter because she could only speak Luo, Apio said she was abducted by LRA from Opit in Gulu in 2002. In the bush, she was forced to marry Lt. Okello Palutaka, who was among the 10 rebel fighters killed on Friday.

The army also paraded two LRA fighters, Sgt. Peter Okot and Sgt James Onen, who were abducted by the rebels in 1997 and 1995, aged 12 and 10, respectively. “We used the first month for planting and now we are harvesting,” Brig. Mugira, accompanied by the army and defence spokesman, Maj. Felix Kulayigye said.

He said among the captured equipment, rescued fighters and those taken prisoners, the UPDF is able to tell the financiers and collaborators of the LRA, even if he insisted he was not at liberty to disclose that information to the press.