This is important. Bishop Zac Niringiye used to be my sort-of boss for the 4 years we worked in Uganda. He was the secretary of the trustees of the college I taught in and had actually been someone I consulted about life there before we moved in 2004. His advice to me was simple then. “Don’t try to be a Ugandan, Mark. You’re not. You’re a Brit.” Superb – of course cultural sensitivity is essential – but it is only works if it is accompanied by authenticity and integrity. Zac is a strong character with strong passions and a good mind (he was a Langham scholar, doing his theology PhD in Scotland). He’s not always easy! But he’s someone with real integrity and gospel concern.
Fairly recently, he stepped down from his job as Assistant Bishop of Kampala in order to dedicate himself to what is clear in Uganda – the prevalence and apparent permanence of corruption at all levels. This entails putting himself in harm’s way – rather like trying to wave down a high-speed train on the tracks with just a flag. But there is something extraordinarily kingdom-minded about this. He has set up the BLACK Monday movement back in December to challenge, expose and protest about ‘theft of public funds’. And so, inevitably, he found himself arrested the other day.
There’ve been a couple of updates in the last few days, on the Micah Challenge homepage:
UPDATE 14th February 2013
We received the following update from Bishop Zac this afternoon. Please continue to keep him and the Black Monday Movement in your prayers.
Just to update you.
I reported to the Police Station this morning with my lawyer, accompanied by my wife and daughter, some Civil Society leaders and two Members of Parliament. I was just told to report again on Monday 18 February. I am told that the file is still with the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Justice, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,
UPDATE 18th February 2013
We received an update from Bishop Zac this morning. He reported again to the Police Station and was told to report again on Monday 11th March. Bishop Zac was accompanied by a number of Civil Society leaders including another Bishop and an Imam with whom they are working on issues of justice. He was encouraged by the presence of these men. His next reporting date coincides with the EXPOSED anti-corruption campaign launch in South Africa, and we will keep you updated as to progress.
This is a story to follow and pray about. He’s not the only one doing this sort of thing. But hopefully, as a result, there will be many more doing it. All over the world.
But in Uganda it is vital. It one of the most supposedly ‘Christian’ countries of the world (with huge %s going to some sort of church) and at the same time one of the most corrupt.
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I spent a day at Tearfund’s Headquarters (as part of a blogger’s day) and heard CEO Matthew Frost and others talk about their “Unearthing the Truth” campaign. £3000 is lost every second in Africa due to corruption alone, which is why most fertile continent, with the most natural resources is a more of a basket-case than a bread basket. http://www.tearfund.org/en/get_involved/campaign/unearth/
So corruption really needs to be tackled in tandem with hunger. I would dread to be the one doing it, so I am really impressed with Bishop Zac.
He has been speaking in Oxford Churches this weekend, both Aldate’s and Andrew’s; this link about him has been forwarded to us. http://www.lapidomedia.com/uganda-brave-priest-says-i-ll-die-rather-stay-silent
He is a very lively speaker. I was at first taken aback by how he roars with laughter at his own jokes, but later found it quite charming!