Five-man committee formed to probe Namirembe bishop election dispute

Retiring Namirembe Diocese Bishop, Rt Rev Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira (Photo/Courtesy)

Kampala, (UG): The Church of Uganda House of Bishops has instituted a five-man committee to investigate the deferred Namirembe Diocese bishop election process.

Led by Rt Rev Johnson Gakumba, the investigation committee will among others look into the nomination process in line with the Provincial Canon 3.7.30 to guide the next course of action by the House of Bishops for the deferred election.

The other four members of the investigation committee include Rt Rev Micheal Lubowa, Rt Rev Micheal Esakhan Okwi, Rt Rev Patrick Wakula, and Provincial Chancellor Naboth Muhairwe, the legal advisor to the committee.

In an October 11 letter addressed to all members of the Namirembe Diocese bishop nomination committee, Rev Gakumba announced that during the investigation period, they will also interact with any other persons deemed necessary to help form their final verdict on the disputed matter.

“The House of Bishops on October 4 did not consider the nominated candidates for Bishop of Namirembe owing to the complaints received about the manner in which the nomination process was conducted contrary to the Provincial Constitution and Canons,” Rev Gakumba said in the letter.

The chairperson of the probe committee revealed that his team will interact with the 13 members who met on September 30 and nominated the names that were forwarded to the House of Bishops for consideration. The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday.

Shortly before the House of Bishops embarked on the exercise for the election of the Bishops of Namirembe Diocese and the East Busoga Bishops respectively on October 4, a petition from a section of the elders at Namirembe Diocese was tabled before the Bishops.

The petition questioned the process that had seen the nomination of Can Moses Banja, the Archdeacon of Luzira Archdeaconry, and Rev Abraham Muyinda who currently serves as the Vicar at Namirembe Cathedral.

The elders cited allegations of corruption, unfairness, and conflict of interest that they claimed to have influenced the nomination of the two candidates forwarded for consideration as replacement for the retiring Bishop of Namirembe Diocese Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira who will be handing over the office of the bishop when he turns 65 on December 8.

Action to section 3.7.22 of the Provincial Canons of the Church of Uganda, the persons standing for the office of the diocesan bishop must be ordained priests who have served in pastoral ministry for at least 10 years, must have clocked 45 years of age and holders of a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology, among others.

Namirembe Diocese is one of the 37 Dioceses that constitute the Province of the Church of Uganda.

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