By Pauline Luba
On October 11, 2023, former Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Uganda, the Rt. Rev. Henry Luke Orombi celebrated his 74th birthday. To mark this day, Orombi cut a specially made, three-tiered cake at the Uganda Christian University’s Nkoyoyo Hall, a structure named after his predecessor in the Church of Uganda leadership, Archbishop Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo.
However, the main reason for Orombi’s presence at UCU that day was not to celebrate his birthday. In fact, the cake was a surprise to him, since he had already celebrated the birthday a day earlier, owing to the fact that he had a commitment on his birthday. Orombi was at UCU to deliver this year’s keynote address at the university’s Annual Public Lecture that is always held two days before the October graduation ceremony.
UCU’s Call for Servant Leadership
Under the theme “Servant Leadership,” Orombi spent the sunny afternoon attempting to convince the leaders in the fully-packed Nkoyoyo Hall on why the positions they hold at their workplaces and elsewhere demand more service from them than entitlement. He said just like the church, Uganda needs more leaders who are able to impact those they lead than leaders who care more about “boastful” lives.
The concept of servant leadership is one aspect of management that is rare to find. It is premised on the belief that as a leader, your first and foremost goal is to serve the people you lead, and then you can aspire to lead them. This is in contrast to the age-old practice of traditional leadership, which is about exercising one’s power assumed from the authority bestowed on them as a result of the leadership position they hold.
“When you meet some of the leaders and you try to introduce them as Mr., they correct you, saying, ‘I am Hon.’,” Orombi noted, indicating that some leaders are more concerned about the titles than the responsibility that the positions bring.
“But titles go with responsibilities,” the bespectacled Orombi said. “The higher you go in leadership, the more responsibilities you have. You come under more intense scrutiny, wherever you go and in whatever you do.”
Part of the members of the audience were UCU Vice Chancellor Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi and his two deputies — the Rev. Assoc. Prof. John Kitayimbwa and Mr. David Mugawe. Also in attendance was former Vice Chancellor, the Rev. Canon. Dr. John Senyonyi, and H.E Tania Perez, the Cuban Ambassador to Uganda.
Just as was expected of a former archbishop, Orombi, the Chancellor of UCU from 2004 to 2012, spent a considerable time during his lecture, drawing lessons from the Bible to enrich his lecture.
“When Jesus walked the earth as God-man, he was fully God, so he had a lot of power,” Orombi, currently the Chancellor of Muni University in Uganda. said. “But, he did not use it. If He did, only slightly. Such should be the case with servant leaders.”
He called on servant leaders to use the positions they have to mentor people, especially the younger ones, drawing lessons from the life of Jesus, who he said came to serve, and not to be served and that that is the kind of servant leaders “we are meant to be.”
The Rev. Prof. Dr. Samuel Luboga, the chairperson of the Uganda’s Education Service Commission, who was the discussant at the public lecture, concurred with Orombi, noting: “Unless we become servant leaders, we cannot hope to serve efficiently the people before us, let alone accomplish the great commission of Jesus Christ.”