By our reporter
Christians in the Diocese of Kigezi on Sunday commemorated the life of the former Bishop Festo Kivengyere.
Kivengyere according to Rev. Stanley Mateeka, the former Diocesan secretary was not only an inspirational church leader but rather a strong evangelist who traversed the world preaching the Gospel during his time.
Mateeka said that serving under Kivengeyere’s regime was a pleasing experience since he made them comfortable.
“ whenever Kivengyere would look at you after you have made a mistake, you would feel too guilty but he would rather look at you with a peaceful heart and ask you to reconcile your heart,” said Mateeka.
While preaching during the commemoration service at St. Peters Cathedral, Rugarama, Darius Kwesiga, a teacher at Bweranyangi Girls Secondary School asked Christians to reflect the good works of Bishop Kivengyere by embracing true salvation.
“Kivengeyere was popular because he exhibited real salvation. If we are to celebrate his life genuinely, we ought to practice the values of true salvation and Christianity,” said Kwesiga.
Rev. Stephen Turwomwe, a missioner who worked with the Late Kivengyere for long praised the works Kivengyere for spreading the gospel of God without fear or favour.
“Kivengyere will be remembered for his immense love for true salvation. He was not easily swayed by the desires of the world,” said Turwomwe.
He hailed kivengyere for promoting a spirit of reconciliation amidst harassment and poor governance during the reign of former Ugandan president Iddi Amin.
“Kivengere wrote a book and entitled it I LOVE IDDI AMIN despite having undergone mistreatment from the Amin,” said Turwomwe.
According to George Katwesigye, the former Bishop of Kigezi Diocese, Kivengyere set a good example to his successors.
“Bishop Kivengere was an exemplary leader whom we have a lot to learn from. As religious leaders, his character of openness, honesty and commitment is a great lesson to us,” said Bishop Katwesigye.
Kivengyereis also credited for being a great educationist who advocated for the establishment of Kivengyere Girls S.S and Horby High school.
Rev. Can. Eric Tukwasibwe, the former driver for the late Kivengyere said that Kivengyere was instrumental in the growth of true spirituality in Kigezi and the neighborhood.
“He championed the construction of the current cathedral and was also available to see the prevalence of revival in Kigezi,” said Tukwasibwe.
He was born on 1st November, 1919 in Rukungiri district. He died on 18/05/1988 in Nairobi succumbing to Leucamia.
He was the first African Bishop of Kigezi Diocese following his enthronement on 19th December, 1972.
Before becoming a Bishop, Kivengyere had teamed up with renowned preacher Billy Graham in spreading the Gospel globally.
Following his endless evangelical journeys, Kivengyere appointed Bishop William Rukirande in 1975 to be his assistant in conducting duties in the diocese.
He is also remembered for laying foundation to the current cathedral in 1977.
After the murder of former Archbishop Janan Luwum, Kivengyere went to exile in Rwanda for fear of his dear life.
While in exile, Kivengeyere rallied the International Community against the bad leadership of the then President Iddi Amin and this saw them reduce on the support they were giving to Uganda.
When Amin was overthrown, Kivengyere met some Ugandans who had fled the country and asked them to return to Uganda filled with love for each other so as to enable national development.
Bishop Kivengyere married Merab in1943. The latter died in 2010. They are survived by four daughters.