Rwenzori Bishop Killed in Car Crash

Kampala, Uganda - TRAGEDY struck early yesterday on the Fort Portal-Kyenjojo road when Rwenzori Bishop Patrick Kyaligonza died on the spot in a car accident.

The 9:00am crash took place opposite St. Simeon Catholic Church Miranga (Butiiti parish) at Kayihura near Kyenjojo town. Sources said the 46-year-old bishop and his wife Rose Kabahita Mujungu were heading to Kyenyojo for the burial of his aunt. Mujungu fractured her legs, Moses Tembo, the chaplain, was critically injured. Both were admitted at Kyenjojo Health Centre IV. The driver, Patrick Isingoma, had minor injuries. Isingoma, still in shock, could not utter a word when asked about the incident.

A boda-boda rider said the bishop's Prado vehicle zigzagged across the road before it rolled over. "The bishop attempted to jump out. He hit his head on the tarmac and died instantly."

The Police said the vehicle burst a rear tyre.

The bishop's body was taken for a postmortem in Fort Portal Hospital.

Kyaligonza was a father of three children aged between 3 and 9. His first anniversary as bishop was due in two weeks.

Kyaligonza was consecrated on February 22, 2009. President Yoweri Museveni attended his consecration at St. John's Cathedral.

Kyaligonza was among Anglican bishops who prayed at State House in Entebbe last weekend.

A somber mood hung over the cathedral, the seat of the diocese, where hundreds of mourners gathered. Some wailed, while others prayed.

"We have lost a great man," said diocesan secretary Patrick Karuhanga.

Prof. Edward Rugumayo said: "He was influential and a strong preacher. He has been the youngest bishop in the Church of Uganda, who was looked at as the next archbishop."

Local government minister Adolf Mwesige said: "He was not only the bishop of the Anglicans but a shepherd of all."

By press time, the programme for burial had not been announced. A sobbing Best Kemigisha, the Queen mother of Toro and sister of the widow, said the bishop was a "key player" in planning the birthday celebrations of King Oyo slated for April 18, the day he is expected to assume the leadership of the kingdom. "I cannot imagine he is gone."