Mbarara mourns Archbishop Emeritus Paul Bakyenga


Archbishop Emeritus Paul Kamuza Bakyenga of Mbarara Archdiocese has died at the age of 79.

Archbishop Bakyenga passed on this Tuesday morning at Nsambya Hospital in Kampala where he has been undergoing treatment.

The leadership of Mbarara Archdiocese is expected to release a statement shortly on the death as well as communicate about the burial arrangements.

This comes three years after his retirement. Pope Francis accepted his resignation on 25 April 2020 and appointed Auxiliary Bishop Lambert Bainomugisha as the Archbishop of Mbarara.

Bakyenga, who has been staying at the residence of the Vicar General in Bushenyi, has been in and out of hospital and underwent surgery about a year ago.

However, his health had improved and on Holy Thursday, he attended Chrism mass for priests from the archdiocese where he shared his health challenges and revealed that he was improving.

The Catholic Church has lost one of the most accomplished leaders. Bakyenga last year celebrated 50 years of priesthood as he bid farewell to Christians of Mbarara Archdiocese.

Bakyenga was born on 30 June 1944, in Bumbaire Village, Igara sub-county, in present-day Bushenyi District in the Western Region of Uganda. He attended pre-primary school in the church building at Bweeza, Bushenyi District. He went on to attend Ibaare Primary School, before he joined Ibanda Preparatory Seminary from 1958 until 1960. In 1961, he joined Kitabi Seminary, where he graduated with a High School Diploma. He was admitted to Bukalasa Minor Seminary, in present-day Kalungu District for his A-Level studies but he did not complete. He was expelled, along with others, for “indiscipline”.

After teaching briefly at Rushoroza Seminary, in Kabale District, he was then admitted at Katigondo Major Seminary, in Kalungu District to study philosophy but abandoned the course after two years. At this point, Bishop John Baptist Kakubi of Mbarara, sent him to study at St Andrews College in Scotland, where he obtained a degree in Theology.

He was ordained a priest on 11 July 1971 at Mbarara at the age of 27. He served as priest in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mbarara, until 6 March 1989.

He was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Mbarara, Uganda on 6 March 1989. He was consecrated as bishop on 24 June 1989 at Mbarara by Bishop John Baptist Kakubi, Bishop of Mbarara, assisted by Bishop Adrian Kivumbi Ddungu, Bishop of Masaka and Bishop Serapio Bwemi Magambo, Bishop of Fort Portal.

On 23 November 1991, he succeeded as bishop of Mbarara, replacing the late Bishop John Baptist Kakubi, who resigned. He was appointed Archbishop of Mbarara on 2 January 1999.

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