KOTIDO: The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Thomas Tayebwa has said the Karamoja sub-region has got enormous potential to become the food basket of Uganda and the region.
Tayebwa who presided over the consecration of Rev. Canon Simon Akol Aisu as the 2nd Anglican Bishop of North Karamoja Diocese said the government has already discussed means including irrigation schemes to help turn the region into Uganda’s food basket.
The Deputy Speaker had represented President Yoweri Museveni on Sunday, February 12, 2023, during a ceremony that took place at the Christ Church Cathedral, in Kotido District.
“Your grace, instead of us bringing food to Karamoja, there’s a potential of Karamoja feeding the whole of the country and the region,” he said, noting that Karamoja only needs to be helped to boost its potential.
“That’s the greatest security we can give to Karamoja. The more the people are given activities, the less they will engage in criminal activities such as stealing,” he added.
Tayebwa said both the President, Gen Museveni, and First Lady, Mama Janet Museveni are very passionate about Karamoja and promised to broker an urgent meeting between Karamoja Members of Parliament and the President to further discuss food security through irrigation and mechanized agriculture.
He urged the church and all the other religions to actively mobilize and support this initiative.
“We can’t leave Karamoja to survive on nature. God has given us resources a government and now it’s upon us to use them effectively to transform this area,” he said.
The Deputy Speaker also commended the Church of Uganda for its bold plans to split from the Church of England after the latter last week said it would approve same-sex marriages.
“You have provided leadership, we have always supplied the west with raw materials for their development but now we need to supply them with a moral raw material. We are under pressure to make laws that are against the order of nature. That, I assure, you we shall not bow to pressure,” he said.
Tayebwa said the Church has the support of the government of Uganda and that of “our president.”
“We are building a strong unity across the world including in Europe. There’s one President, she is coming here in July and she is going to support us.”
Meanwhile, Tayebwa announced that the President had donated a brand new SUV car to the new Bishop to enable travel in his Diocese to fulfill his evangelization work.
Church of Uganda Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba congratulated the new Bishop and urged him to preach peace, and wealth to achieve the much sought-after social-economic transformation.
Dr. Kaziimba urged the Karamoja sub-region to appropriately utilize the resources given to them by god to save lives.
He said North Karamoja was a very promising diocese since its inception but has been stunted by insecurity.
“Guest of honor, I’m very concerned about the continuing insecurity in these parts of the diocese and Karamoja region in general,” the Archbishop said, and also appealed that such action must be stopped to allow growth of the diocese and the region.
He said that education cannot happen where there’s insecurity. “Insecurity brings hunger and famine because people cannot engage in agricultural activities freely. Insecurity causes people to be isolated and shunned by the rest of the world,” he said, urging Christians to love and strive for unity and peace.
Kaziimba also urged the government to support Karamoja with irrigation schemes and tractors for people to engage in commercial agriculture.
Kaziimba also called on the government to deliberately invest in compulsory free education to bring mindset change
“Conversion of the heads, Conversion of the hearts, Conversion of the families. We need that.”
In his maiden remarks, Bishop Akol Aisu preached peace and reconciliation, saying the development and growth of the Church cannot be achieved without peace and unity in the families, unity among Christians, community, and nation.
“Throughout our time in the diocese, we will focus our efforts on this theme: “Peaceful United Christians for Service and Growth” (John 14:27). This will be our Christian message to our people throughout the Diocese during the tenure of our ministry in order to promote spiritual and economic growth in the Church,” he said.
Bishop Akol Aisu said his administration would prioritize evangelism, Scripture & the Bible, Capacity Building & Staff Welfare, Management of Diocesan Property, Education & Church Founded Schools, and Health & Medical Care.
Other areas include Christian Marriage & Family Life, Church & Development among others.
“The ministry of healing and giving care to the sick is one of the Gospels that left with the Church. During our time in ministry, we will work with health management committees of Church founded health units, Health departments of our Districts, and local district administration to make sure that this ministry is supported to safe life and give care to the people. We will connect health units that are not supported by Uganda Protestant Bureau and other health stakeholders to receive the same medical support they have given to others.”
The new north Karamoja diocese bishop said his administration will be active partners with the ministry of education and sports to ensure that standards and quality education is given to learners within the diocese.
He however said he would resist programmes that are aimed to alienate children from the foundational roots of their faith (Christian teaching/values), from the parent’s or family’s world view, and from the roots of the Child’s culture.
“We are informed of what has killed Christianity in the western world and the same is being packaged to us in the education package, through charity and scholarships,” he said. “We plan to engage teachers and head teachers within our schools in promoting Christian morals and the purpose for which these schools were established.”
Bishop Aisu was born on August 6, 1964 in Nabilatuk district.
Bishop Aisu has a bachelor’s of divinity from the Uganda Christian University after receiving a diploma and certificates in the same fields.
He has also participated in several capacity-building trainings.
Aisu, who is currently the sub-dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Kotido, has served in several positions in both Karamoja and North Karamoja dioceses, including that of archdeacon, theological college principal, diocesan secretary and parish priest.
Bishop Aisu is married to Anna Aisu and the Lord has blessed them with seven children.
By Alex Esagala