July 12, 2024
Kampala Daily
NewsPolitics

Outspoken Priest Fr. Gaetano Batanyenda Retires: Leaders Shower Him with Praises

Rev. Fr. Gaetano Batanyenda, an 80-year-old clergyman born in 1944 in Kanungu, is one of the longest-serving church leaders in Kabale Catholic diocese. He on Sunday, he retired at Kitanga Parish after an illustrious career spanning 47 years as a priest, having been ordained on August 15, 1976.

Throughout his tenure, Fr. Gaetano Batanyenda has held numerous significant leadership roles, including Head of Kigezi Inter-Religious Council, Head of Clergy in Kabale Diocese, Kabale Municipality Mayor, Speaker of the Council in Kabale District, Chairperson of the Board of Governors for Rukiga SACCO, and Vice Chairperson of Kick Corruption Out of Uganda (KICK-U), among others.

Fr. Gaetano has been instrumental in spearheading various development projects in Kitanga Parish. Such has been his impact that for a considerable period, some individuals believed Kitanga to be the primary town of Rukiga District.

Under his guidance, the parish boasts a fully-fledged health center, two schools, the largest privately owned printery in the Kigezi Sub-Region, and even a bank. His dedication and leadership have left an indelible mark on the community, fostering growth and progress in Kitanga and beyond. He has been replaced with Rev Fr Marius Byamukama. The function was at Kitanga catholic parish headquarters in Rukiga district.

Rev. Fr. Gaetano on Himself

“I didn’t accomplish anything alone. There’s a very big community here at Kitanga. They supported me in the work you all appreciate. I will always thank God for them. To our development partners, remember that you were not just helping me when you supported the work here. You were supporting Kitanga Parish. Therefore, I entrust you all to Rev. Fr. Marius. Please continue to work with him and support Kitanga.

I want to express special gratitude to Fr. Marius who has taken care of me as my health started deteriorating due to age and illness. I also extend my heartfelt appreciation to Bishop Calistus Rubaramira for accepting my request to remain at Kitanga despite several potential transfers. I was already advanced in age, and I knew I wouldn’t be of much use elsewhere.

Looking back, all I can see is God’s grace and the promises He has fulfilled. I thank you all for joining us in this Thanksgiving ceremony.”

Hon. Wilfred Niwagaba, Shadow Attorney General and Member of Parliament representing Ndorwa East County
“When you travel across Rukiga by air, it becomes evident and appreciable the remarkable transformation Fr. Gaetano has brought to Kitanga Parish. His efforts have essentially shaped a town in this area, and we are grateful for the developments he has facilitated.

Thank you, Fr. Gaetano, for being the voice for the voiceless. Your unwavering courage in critiquing politicians and highlighting their wrongdoings has been invaluable. We will always cherish your endeavors to uphold good governance and public accountability in our country.

I urge your successor, Fr. Marius, to step up and continue advocating for the voiceless without fear or favor. It is my challenge to him to follow in your footsteps. Moreover, I call upon all religious leaders to embrace their role in advising, critiquing, and guiding the politicians entrusted with governing our nation.”

Dr. Misinguzi Garuga,a celebrated businessman and millionaire:

“I have had the privilege of knowing Rev. Fr. Gaetano for many years. We have collaborated on several projects aimed at enhancing social services at Kitanga Parish. He is a man of esteemed integrity. While he may be retiring from active service, we still require his expertise for advocacy purposes. Our country continues to face challenges with corruption and misuse of authority, and his voice remains invaluable in addressing these issues.”

Researcher Atusasure Edmund, Politician:

“I extend my heartfelt congratulations to Fr. Gaetano Batanyenda on his remarkable journey of priesthood and reaching the milestone of 80 years of age. Congratulations!
Fr. Gaetano is a renowned and visionary individual who has made significant contributions to the socio-economic transformation of our country. His dedicated service in the areas of education, economic empowerment, health promotion, civic education through citizen empowerment efforts, and above all, preaching the word of God, has left an indelible mark on our society.

May his legacy endure for generations to come, and may we draw inspiration from his exemplary life to address the challenges of today.

Counsel Kiconco Patrick Katabazi, City Lawyer:

“I have witnessed Rev. Fr. Gaetano laid hands on and offered prayers of blessing to numerous politicians, including both President Museveni and his opponents. He has extended the same gesture to all of us, with the intention of ensuring that Uganda receives leadership chosen by God.
Fr. Gaetano has consistently taken on the civic responsibility of providing guidance on good governance, while also speaking out against bad leadership and demanding accountability from those in positions of authority. We urge all religious leaders to emulate his example.”

Hon. Caroline Kamusiime Muhwezi, Woman Member of Parliament representing Rukiga District
“He steadfastly refused to engage in partisan politics in Rukiga. Instead, he has treated all of us as his children, bestowing upon us equal amounts of blessings. Thank you, Fr. Gaetano, for your unconditional love, particularly for me.”

-Dr. Sylvia Arinaitwe, Deputy Director National water and sewerage corporation in Uganda

Rev. Fr. Gaetano has played a pivotal role in the formulation of laws and policies that have significantly shaped Uganda into the nation it is today. His regular commentary on issues affecting Ugandans has served as a valuable reference point in the crafting of policies aimed at improving standards of living and promoting equity and equality throughout the country. It is for these reasons that we celebrate him today.

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