Africa-Press – Uganda. Benon Magezi, the fifth Bishop of North Kigezi Diocese, was pronounced dead on Tuesday evening after battling Covid-19 for two weeks. He died at Mulago National Referral Hospital.
Bishop Magezi had served for four years at the Rukungiri-based diocese. He was consecrated on January 8, 2017. He became a bishop after serving from the lowest rank of the church ladder, a lay leader.
“All his adult life, Bishop Magezi spent it in church but when he was elected Bishop in August 2016, he was the least expected because his name had been presented with those of people who had big profiles in church service and education.
He had since proved the doubters wrong by performing beyond expectations. I think he had already finished all he pledged in his charge in just four years,” Rev John Tusingwire, his former chaplain, who retired from service in 2019, told Daily Monitor yesterday.
Ms Peninah Aijuka, the diocesan treasurer, who also served under Bishop Magezi as chairperson when he was the diocesan treasurer, describes him as a straightforward person who could not be diverted if he desired to do anything.
“Bishop Magezi was one of the most straightforward people I have ever known. He valued transparency and work. If he focused on something, he would first complete it,” Ms Aijuka said.
Bishop Magezi was taken to Mulago after spending two weeks at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital where he was undergoing Covid-19 treatment.
Rev Can Eric Beingana Mugyezi, the Dean of Emmanuel Cathedral Kinyasano, said his death was a big setback to the church construction project because he was key in fundraising for the development.
Bishop Magezi initiated the church project in 2019 with a fundraising that raised more than Shs400m. The project is expected to cost Shs5b. At least Shs2b is said to have already been spent on the project.
Apart from the church project, Bishop Magezi had started many schools, and refurbished health centres founded by the diocese.
Former Rukungiri Municipality MP Roland Mugume Kaginda said: “Bishop Magezi urged unity among Christians. Rukungiri was divided because of politics and this had come to the church, but he united us and brought us together for development.”
Dr Erisa Rutahigwa, the Rukungiri Municipality MP, described the late bishop as a person who “shunned politics of intrigue, was generous, caring and developmental”.
A Church of Uganda statement released by the provincial secretary, Rev Can William Ongeng announcing the bishop’s death described the deceased cleric as a committed Christian who dedicated his life to the service of the church. Bishop Magezi is survived by a wife, Gladyce Magezi, and four children.
By press time, the diocese heads of department were in a meeting discussing burial arrangements. A service was being organised in Kampala and several other churches, including the Emmanuel Cathedral in Rukungiri.
Background…Who was Bishop Magezi?
Born on December 24, 1960, and raised in Bwanda Village in Buhunga Sub-county, Rukungiri District, Bishop Magezi was the only child of his mother. His mother died when he was not yet two years old and grew up under the care of his step mother.
He went to Kashenyi Primary School for primary education, and later Jinja College for his O-Level education. After O-Level, Bishop Magezi then joined teaching as a licensed teacher in several primary schools. He taught at Rwabukoba, and Nyakanyinya, and Kashenyi primary schools in Rukungiri District.
He started his church service in 1982 when he resigned teaching and became a youth worker with his local church and later the church treasurer until 1985, when the church sponsored him to train as a lay leader at Mugamba Church of Uganda, a course he did for two years.
He went to Bishop Bahram College in Kabale District and was ordained in 1990 after completing a certificate in Theology. He was then made a deacon at Kakibaya Church of Uganda, and later a reverend serving there until 1995.
He went back to Bishop Barham College, where he attained a Diploma in Theology in 1996. He was posted to Nyakagyeme parish in 1999, later Kyatoko and Rumbugu parishes before returning to school in 2008.
Magezi studied Bachelors of Theology at Uganda Christian University in Mukono, graduating in 2010. After his graduation, he was made the North Kigezi Diocesan treasurer and later a canon of the Church of Uganda until he was elected Bishop of the same diocese on August 23, 2016.