By Jimmy Kwo
Bishop Benjamin Ojwang’s remains will now be buried at All Saints Cathedral in Kitgum town after some of his clan members initially inconsolably opposed to it, relented.
In intense long meeting convened in Pader town on Thursday evening, the Church and the bereaved family managed to convince the bitter section of the clan who had insisted that the bishop’s body be buried in his ancestral Pader instead.
Sources who attended the crisis meeting intimated to Daily Monitor that the kinsmen complained and claimed that it was inconceivable to them that Bishop Ojwang should be buried in Kitgum where some Christians bitterly fought him during most of his 12-years tenure from 2002.
“There were tensions because some people had refused that the bishop should be buried here (Pader District) and not taken to Kitgum because of the tensions on him from there. But eventually, it was accepted after a long meeting,” a source who attended the meeting told Daily Monitor in a phone interview.
The heated meeting, that lasted several hours, was reportedly chaired by Mr Peter Odokwod Ocheng, the former LC5 chairman for Pader and Agago Districts.The current Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Wilson Kitara also attended the meeting.
“Some part of the clan [members] had objections that the bishop cannot be buried in Kitgum. We had to convince them and we have resolved it now,” Bishop Kitara said on phone, shortly after returning to Kitgum town from Pader on Wednesday evening at past 8pm.
It should be noted that it is a Church tradition to bury its prominent clergies and lay Christians in church cemeteries or compounds. All Saints Cathedral, situated at the diocesan headquarters in Mican at the outskirts of Kitgum town, has a cemetery where such individuals have been laid to rest in the past.
Bishop Ojwang breathed his last on Monday at Kiruddu General Hospital where he was earlier admitted with high blood pressure and diabetes. He hailed from Pader, which together with Kitgum, Lamwo and Agago are east Acholi districts that comprise the Diocese of Kitgum.
The fight between the bishop and Concerned Christians, a loose pressure group, backed by the Church of the Province of Uganda on the other, did not only pit their supporters against each other but also dented inter-district relations, with Pader especially feeling “their own” was being unfairly targeted.
The fight also took a political twist as most Concerned Christians leaders who are Uganda People’s Congress party members viewed and indeed called the late bishop “an NRM cadre”.