The Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda, the Rt. Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda, was representing His Excellency, the President of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, as the Guest of Honour at the commissioning of the Janani Luwum Church House during a special function held today, August 24th, 2018 in Kampala.
The Prime Minister read the president’s speech; in his remarks, the President said, “I heartily congratulate the Church of Uganda on this accomplishment of a dream come true. This is a significant contribution to our economy, manifested in this imposing building in Kampala’s skyline. I officially commission Janani Luwum Church House.”
The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, Archbishop of the Church of Uganda and Bishop of Diocese of Kampala thanked the government of Uganda for the peace in the country that has enabled the church to reach this milestone calling the Church House a peace dividend. He said.
The concept for Church House as a commercial real estate enterprise began in 1965 and was originally to be built on Shimoni Road. When the Bank of Uganda proposed to take over the Shimoni Road site, that property was exchanged for Plot 34 on Kampala Road.
During the 23rd Provincial Assembly, held on 25th August 2016, the Church of Uganda resolved to name the building “Janani Luwum Church House,” in honour of Archbishop Janani Luwum who whole-heartedly embraced the project during his three-year tenure as Archbishop in the early 1970’s. The Church House Company was registered in 1971 as a Private Limited Company.
The church started looking for the money to build her plot. Fundraising for Church House went to the grassroots of the church, including every primary and secondary school student making contributions. The significant devaluation of the Ugandan shilling during the 1970’s and 1980’s was a major setback, however, to moving forward with construction.
The needed breakthrough came in 2010 when the Trustees of the Church of Uganda entered into a loan agreement with Equity Bank to fund the almost $17 million construction cost. The Church of Uganda agreed to raise 30% of the construction cost, and Equity Bank financed the balance through a $10 million loan and a 5 billion shilling loan. The loan had a two-year grace period during which time the Church of Uganda paid only the interest on the loan.
Construction began in December 2010 with an estimated timeline for completion by December 2012. There were construction delays, as well as an 18-month conflict among service providers that stalled construction progress. The conflict was resolved in July 2014. After the Church of Uganda Provincial Secretariat conducted a prayer walk through the building, construction resumed, albeit with further delays for unforeseen reasons.
Mr. James Mwangi, the Group CEO of Equity Bank, said that this has been a project of faith. “This has been a project of faith. If you never had the dream, you wouldn’t be here. Thank you for trusting us [Equity Bank] with the dream, and I want to encourage all the Bishops here that this dream can be replicated in all the dioceses.”
Church House is a 16-floor commercial office building located on Plot 34 on Kampala Road, directly opposite the Bank of Uganda. Equity Bank has already moved their Head Office operations to the first five floors and are the anchor tenant in the building and space is still available for lease and is being managed through Bageine & Company Limited, the Letting Agent.