Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Samuel Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu asked Christians in Muhabura diocese not to fight and petition court over the succession of Bishop Cranmer Mugisha because it is God’s responsibility to conduct transition. Kazimba arrived in Muhabura diocese on Saturday to resolve disputes among Christians questioning the process for the election of Mugisha’s successor.
He held prayers with Christians at the diocesan cathedral Seseme. He is expected to hold a closed-door meeting with the diocesan clergy later today to forge ways of ending the feud. Trouble in the diocese started on September 13, 2021, when Bishop Mugisha hinted at early retirement during the extraordinary diocesan council meeting. Mugisha, who was consecrated in August 2007 to replace Bishop Ernest Shalita, was supposed to retire in 2024. He has, however, opted for early retirement.
On October 11th, 2021, the diocesan synod sat and appointed Ernest Joel Mushime Sendegeya as the Chairperson of the nominations committee on grounds that they had been cleared by the Church of Uganda to start the process of selecting the new Bishop.
However, a section of Christians led by Philemon Mateke, the former Minister of State for Regional Affairs and a member of the diocesan synod, Bernard Muftimukiza, Renie Semiryango, Dinah Uwamaroho and Gerlad Twinomujuni from St. Andrew’s Cathedral
among others accused Bishop Mugisha of rushing to retire before the end of his
tenure after failing Church projects, promoting nepotism, hatred, and division among Christians.
In November 2021, Innocent Ndajimana and Solomon Rugera Kaana, residents of Murambi and Chahi villages respectively in Kisoro district petitioned the High court seeking a permanent injunction stopping the process of selecting Mugisha’s successor.
They jointly sued the Church of Uganda, Bishop Mugisha, Sendegeya, and the Archbishop, the Most Rev. Dr. Kazimba Mugalu. In their civil suit number 343 of 2021 filed through their lawyers of M/s Ngaruye Ruhindi, Spenser & Company Advocates, the petitioners argue that ever since Mugisha was consecrated Bishop in August 2007, he has never bothered to establish a diocesan constitution as provided for under article 4 of the church of Uganda provincial constitution.
The court granted them an injunction. However, the two Christians agreed later to withdraw the petition for an out of court settlement. During the mediation, the diocese conceded defeat and accepted to start the succession process afresh.
In his sermon on Sunday, Kaziimba wondered why Christians in Muhabura diocese resorted to disputes after learning about the news of the transition. He said that there is no need to fight, intimidate and abuse each other because it is God’s work to elect the successor.
The Head of the Laity, George Tereraho, kneeled down before the Archbishop and sought forgiveness, saying that his name was wrongly dragged in the matter yet he was not involved. Tereraho explained that those fighting the transition process are doing it on their own but not on behalf of all Christians.
In his response, Kaziimba noted that Muhabuura has gone on record as the first diocese to drag him to court. He, however, forgave the two Christians who dragged him to court and others fighting the succession process and cautioned them never to do it again.
In his speech, Bishop Mugisha didn’t comment about the bickering but instead asked journalists to drop negative stories about the diocese.
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