Christians sue Archbishop Kazimba over nullification of Luwero Bishop-elect

Archbishop of the Church of Uganda Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu

LUWERO, UGANDA: A section of Christians in Luwero Diocese has dragged the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda Dr Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu to High Court challenging the nullification of the elections of the then Bishop-elect, Canon Godfrey Kasana Ssemakula.

On 28th June the House of Bishops sitting at Kabalega Resort Hotel in Hoima resolved to nullify the elections of Rev.Canon Kasana Ssemakula as the fourth bishop of Luwero Diocese.

According to the statement released by Rev. Canon William Ongeng the Provincial Secretary of the Church of Uganda, the extraordinary decision was taken after getting credible information that the Bishop-elect’s integrity was misrepresented during the nomination and election process. The House of Bishops, therefore nullified Kasana’s nomination and election.

A section of Christians and clergymen in Luwero were not happy with the decision.

Seven Christians led by David Lule Mutyaba Muzzanganda have petitioned Luwero High Court demanding a declaration that the nullification of Kasana was null, void, and has no legal effect.

Other petitioners include Patrick Kizito, Stephen Mutebi, Wasswa Paul Tumwebaze, Godfrey Bwenene Sabavuma, Fred Mubiru Zigwa, and Joyce Mawanda Mazzi.

They are members from different churches which include St Peters Bukalasa, St Johns Kiziba Kikyusa, St Peters Luteete, and St Paul’s Church of Uganda Wobulenzi.

According to the suit filed at Luwero High Court through Lubega and Company advocates and Waymo Advocates, the petitioners allege that the House of Bishops has no mandate to try ecclesiastical offenses under the constitution and canon law which are the preserve of Diocese and Provincial tribunals.

The plaintiffs also further contend that Kasana was not summoned and given a fair hearing before the House of Bishops nullified his elections which contravenes principles of natural justice hence making the decision illegal.

The plaintiffs also aver that whereas constitution and canon laws provide for the election of bishops, they don’t provide for the resolution of the House of Bishops.

They want the court to declare Rev. Canon Kasana Ssemakula as the fourth elected Bishop of Luwero Diocese and issue an order to ahve him consecrated.

The court is further asked to issue a permanent order restraining the House of Bishops from re-electing another person as the fourth Bishop of Luwero Diocese and to declare that the nullification of Rev. Canon Kasana was illegal.

According to a summons issued on 20th July this year by Jane Mugala the registrar of Luwero High Court, Archbishop Kazimba Mugalu who is the only defendant has been given 15 days to file a defense in the suit instituted against him, or the judgment is given in his absence.

David Lule Mutyaba Muzzanganda a petitioner and member of St Peter’s Church of Uganda, Bukalasa said that they resolved to petition the court because the Church and Archbishop declined to give them a chance to resolve the matter.

Erastus Kibirango the LC 5 Chairman of the Luwero district has backed the petition saying it will help to streamline the affairs of the church and resolve the conflict.

Rev. Canon Kasana Ssemakula’s election was nullified after a section of Christians led by Kenneth R. Kikabi, a congregant at St. Mark’s petitioned Archbishop Kaziimba accusing Kasana of siring a child outside the wedlock in contravention of Ten Commandments and canon laws.

This week Right Reverend James William Ssebaggala the retired Bishop of Mukono Diocese assumed office as caretaker of Luwero Diocese for eight months.

This followed a request by the nomination committee for an extension of time to organize themselves and nominate new candidates for the bishop seat following the nullification of Rev. Canon Kasana Godfrey Ssemakula as the Bishop elect of Luwero Diocese.

Rt. Rev. Eridard Kironde Nsubuga the bishop of Luwero Diocese also abdicated and handed over the ecclesiastical authority to Archbishop Kaziimba upon making 65 years of mandatory retirement on 9th July this year.

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