Pope Francis has appointed Antoine Kambanda as new archbishop of Kigali, replacing Thaddee Ntihinyurwa who has been serving in this capacity for the last 22 years (March 9, 1996).
Kambanda is succeeding Ntihinyurwa who celebrated his 46 years of priesthood and 36 years as bishop last year.
The new archbishop, Kambanda was ordained bishop of Kibungo in July 2013 replacing Kizito Bahujimihigo who had resigned three years earlier.
Resignation of the current archbishop – Ntihinyurwa came to the public knowledge in September 2017 during celebration of the Catholic Church centenary.
Smaragde Mbonyintege, the Bishop of Kabgayi told KT Press: “We were expecting it, but I am yet to know if it has been made official.”
KT Press was curious to know why the Pope would have chosen a bishop who has served barely for five years as a bishop while there are others who have been serving for more than two decades and jokingly, Bishop Mbonyintege said: “Would you replace an old archbishop by another old man?”
Apparently, catholic bishop retire at 75 years of age. Nsengiyumva turned 76 years on September 25 of this year while his successor was born 10 November 1958
Mbonyintege said: “They seek advice from us (the eldest) then we suggest and the appointing authority takes a decision.”
Without giving much details, Bishop Mbonyintege said that Kambanda deserves it.
“We wouldn’t recommend him if he was not a good bishop,” he said.
Every bishop has a motto which guides his mission. Ut Vitam Habeant meaning ‘Let them have life’ is the motto of the incoming archbishop.