The archbishop of Kampala Dr Cyprian Kizito, 68, died of a heart attack, a postmortem report has ascertained. Lwanga was found lying lifeless in bed at his residence in Lubaga on Saturday morning and was officially pronounced dead by his personal physician at around 9:08 am.
His sudden death had raised questions with several people spinning conspiracy theories linking his demise to the mysterious death of other prominent clerics who have passed away in recent months.
Putting to rest questions over Dr Lwanga's death, the interim archdiocesan administrator Msgr. Charles Kasibante and the archdiocesan health coordinator Dr Andrew Ssekitoleko announced the cause of the death of the fallen prelate during his first requiem mass led by Kasaana-Luweero Diocesan Bishop Paul Ssemwogere at Lubaga cathedral today afternoon.
Reading a jointly signed document, Dr Ssekitoleko informed mourners that the body of the archbishop had been subjected to a postmortem at Mulago National Referral hospital to ascertain what had caused his sudden death.
He explained that the postmortem was conducted by a team of senior pathologists in presence of two family representatives and two physicians delegated by the church adding that at the end of the exercise, it was established that the archbishop had a heart attack due to a blood clot in the heart vessels.
Dr Ssekitoleko added that the finding is consistent with the previous history of illness that the archbishop had. Several reports had earlier indicated that the fallen prelate has for a long been battling hypertension and diabetic conditions.
Meanwhile, the programme of the burial of the archbishop has also been amended. According to Msgr. Kasibante, the government asked to pay tribute to the deceased - a request which has been granted - thus causing a change in the programme.
According to the new programme, the body of the archbishop will on Tuesday lie in state at Kololo airfield with the President Yoweri Museveni as the chief mourner. This event will be held from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.
From Kololo, the body will be taken to Kyabakadde in Mukono district, the birthplace of the archbishop. At this place, Lugazi Diocesan Bishop Christopher Kakooza will lead a requiem mass and later the public be allowed to view the body with strict adherence to Covid-19 regulations.
On Wednesday, the body of the archbishop will be taken to Uganda Martyrs Shrine, Namugogo which is a more spacious place where people will be allowed to pay their last respects to the deceased prelate from 8:00 am to 9:30 am and later there will be a requiem mass led by the Bishop of Masaka diocese Severus Jjumba.
BURIED INSIDE LUBAGA CATHEDRAL
According to Kasibante, Lwanga will be laid to rest inside the historical Lubaga cathedral and will be the third prelate to be buried inside the church. The first prelate to be buried in there was Bishop Edouard Michaud, a Canadian clergyman who was one of the priest missionaries of the White Fathers. He was the vicar Apostolic of Uganda from 1933 until he died in 1945.
Inside the same church are the remains of Dr Joseph Kiwanuka, the first native African to be ordained a Catholic bishop in modern times who died in 1966 five years after his appointment as Archbishop of Lubaga.
The two are laid to rest on the right wing of the church just behind the area reserved for the choir. Kasibante says Archbishop Lwanga will on Thursday be laid in the middle of the two of his 'fore grandfathers’.
Msgr Gerald Kalumba, one of the senior priests in the archdiocese and former vicar general, notes that it is has been a tradition of the church to bury (Arch)bishops in the cathedrals they served.
“It is the tradition and in many times bishops who served in that particular cathedral are worthy of being buried in there,” says Kalumba.
He, however, adds that this might vary depending on other circumstances. “In some cases, if the (Arch)bishop left a will indicating a place where he wishes to be buried, his will is honoured,” he added citing the example of Emmanuel Cardinal Nsubuga who ‘humbled’ himself by making a will asking to be buried at the Bakateyamba Home which he founded.
According to information obtained from different catholic church sites, in many cathedrals, there are areas called crypts already set aside to bury the prelates. This concept of building crypts is said to have been drawn from the persecution of Christians and the believers who were buried in these caves when they died. The faithful have preserved this tradition to date.
In the event that the cathedral can no longer accommodate more graves, the administration of the (arch)diocese can locate another site to serve the same purpose.
For instance, two of the former bishops of Masaka were buried inside Villa Maria church (which was the first cathedral of Masaka before the relocation to Kitovu). However, when Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa died of Covid-19 a few months ago, there was no space for him and so he was buried in a cemetery chapel in Bukalasa Minor Seminary.
As reported earlier by The Observer, Rev Fr Edward Ssekabanja, the Masaka Diocesan chancellor, explained that they resolved that the said chapel should be the burial place for all bishops of Masaka and other bishops from outside the diocese that wish to be buried in Masaka.