“I’ll Rather Die Than Stay Silent”: Bishop David Zac Niringiye fights for social justice in Uganda

The Anglican Assistant Bishop David Zac Niringiye retired from the pulpit seven years ago in order to fight for social justice in Uganda. He is an outspoken clergyman, who supports several different campaigns and initiatives in his home country.

Bishop Niringiye was born in Bufumbira in the Kisoro region in Uganda in 1954. He studied physics at Makerere University in Uganda and went on to receive a Masters degree in Theology from Wheaton College, Illinois, USA. He completed his theological studies in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he received a PhD in Theology and Mission History. He is married and has three children.

His self-proclaimed main goal lies in the religious and cultural renewal of the African population. He pleads for common ideals and the joining-of-hands of all African Christians to become spiritual brothers and sisters. He is an active member of various Christian students’ movements in Uganda and also the regional director of the Church Mission Society, which promotes missionary work in the whole of Africa.

Bishop Niringiye became known for his efforts in stopping what he called a humanitarian crisis during the militant actions of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda. Since the end of the Ugandan civil war in 1985, the LRA, under the command of Joseph Kony, has been fighting in northern Uganda against government forces. In 2005, the International Court of Justice issued a warrant of arrest against the LRA commanders. As of today, the Lord’s Resistance Army has abducted several thousand children and forced them to become soldiers and fight for the creation of a theocratic state under LRA rule in central Africa. Bishop Niringiye was part of  the “Break The Silence” campaign, which raised awareness of the problem of child soldiers, the many abductions and tortures and the general practices of the Lord’s Resistance Army.

Today, he is also a member of the “Black Monday Movement”. This initiative combats corruption and embezzlement in Uganda. The country ranks 140th on Transparency International’s Ranking of Corruption. By wearing black garments every single Monday, members of the movement try to make a statement against the vast disappearance of money and bribery. In February 2013, Bishop Niringiye was arrested by Ugandan police for his participation in the “Black Monday Movement”. This did not intimidate him or daunt his beliefs in fighting for justice. He continues his struggles for social justice up until this day.

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