By Pauline Luba
After the death of James Kibirige, the father of new Mukono Diocese Bishop Enos Kitto Kagodo, the burden of looking after the family fell on their mother. Ruth Kibirige found herself brewing local beer and selling fish to get money to keep her children in school. Occasionally, Good Samaritans would support Ruth with handouts for the family. At the time, Kagodo was in Primary Five.
While lucrative, the work Ruth engaged in to make a living for the family had a temptation hazard. As a 19-year-old, Kagodo befriended another teenager whose mother also brewed local beer. Kagodo says his friend would steal alcohol from his mother’s stand and share it with him. What started as a one-off soon became a habit, leading Kagodo to alcoholism and juvenile delinquency.
“Peer pressure got me into a life full of drinking. We would sneak out of Bishop West Senior – my secondary school – and go drinking,” Kagodo said during an interview with Uganda Partners at his home in Mukono, central Uganda.
However, God seemed to have a different plan for Kagodo. While still in secondary school, Kagodo would attend church service every Sunday. One day, the church hosted a preacher whose gospel was especially connected with Kagodo. He felt the need to know God more and, in order to do that, he would have to get rid of his worldly pleasure. When he did, God, indeed, made him discover a new life.
But change, seldom a welcome idea in people’s lives, didn’t happen readily. For Kagodo, quitting alcohol meant losing his alcohol-drinking friends and figuring out how to spend the time when he wasn’t drinking.
He found answers to many of the challenges in service. Kagodo has since been able to serve the Anglican Church in various capacities, including as parish priest, archdeacon, diocesan health coordinator and as the provost of St. Phillip’s and Andrew’s Cathedral in Mukono. His latest position of service is the Bishop of Mukono Anglican Diocese, a position he assumed on February 26, 2023, at a plush consecration ceremony at the St. Phillip’s and St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Mukono.
Kagodo says his story of alcohol and conversion is a testimony that encourages youth, especially those who may be facing the same challenge, to believe that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. He encourages youth to seek a higher form of spirituality and to always think about their life after death, in cases where they get temptations to engage in inappropriate acts.
To become bishop, Kagodo competed against his friend, the Rev. Godfrey Ssengendo, for the position. Kagodo said he was prepared for any result.
“Whatever the outcome, I would have praised the Lord. Ssengendo is a good friend. Any of us is able to do the job well,” Kagodo said.
A text message from his bishop, James William Ssebaggala, on the afternoon of January 18, the day the voting took place, announced to Kagodo that he had sailed through in the elections. Anglican bishops in Uganda are elected by the House of Bishops, which is composed of active Diocesan and Assistant Bishops.
After completing his Senior Four at Bishop West Senior School, Kagodo briefly stopped studying. He, thereafter, proceeded to acquire a certificate, progressed to study theology and then became a deacon. He studied at Uganda Christian University (UCU) from 2011 to 2014, obtaining a Master of Divinity. He says he enjoyed studying at UCU because of its deep roots in Christianity and a good studying environment.
“The university has many denominations and gives a chance for everyone to learn about God through its course units,” Kagodo said. “I also liked the fact that as an older person studying, I was made to feel welcome and comfortable at the university.”
This year, Kagodo and his wife, Catherine Namuddu, are celebrating 27 years of marriage. The bishop says his wife has been his biggest support system.
When not doing church work, one is likely to find Kagodo either playing sports with his children, listening to music or spending time with friends.