February 29, 2024

Christians protest fresh nominations for Luwero Bishop’s seat

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A section of Christians has staged a demonstration protesting the fresh nomination of candidates for the Luwero Bishop’s seat before the court hears their petition challenging the nullification of the past elections. The House of Bishops on June 28th, 2023 nullified the elections of Rev.Canon Kasana Ssemakula as Fourth Bishop of Luwero Diocese after getting credible information that his integrity was misrepresented during the nomination and election process.

On Sunday, the Search Committee left Luwero town for an undisclosed venue for a retreat to nominate two candidates. The Committee comprises the Chancellor of the Diocese, Apollo Makubuya, Rebecca Nalwanga, Rev. Canon Keith Muwanga, Canon Christopher Nkoyoyo, and Amos Giita among others. However, as the Diocese waits for the election of the new Bishop, the supporters of the Rev. Canon Kasana staged a demonstration at St Mark Cathedral in Luwero town on Sunday evening calling for the postponement of the nomination exercise.

The Christians carried placards denouncing the exercise and committee members. Moses Kakembo, one of the protesters said that he together with John Ssendowooza, Moses Bemba and Christopher Ssajjabi Katende dragged the 37 Anglican Bishops who constitute the House of Bishops to the High Court challenging their decision to nullify the election of Kasana.

Kakembo says that they have already sent a summons to each of the Bishops to defend themselves over the matter but they were surprised to hear that the search committee is rushing to conduct fresh nominations for candidates this week before the court determines the petition. Kakembo wants the search committee to stay the process till the court decides whether Kasana was given a fair hearing and declares that his nullification was lawful.

Genza Paul and Robert Kalibbala, both Christians from Sekamuli church said that the nomination of new candidates before the case is determined is likely to escalate conflicts in the diocese. Ruth Nakayenga, another Christian says that they will reject the new Bishop because they don’t believe in the ongoing process. The Christians appealed to Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu to stop the exercise till the matter is resolved in court.

Police from Kasana Police Station later dispersed the demonstrators and confiscated their placards. However, they didn’t make any arrests. Erastus Kibirango, the lawyer of the disgruntled Christians says that this week they intend to apply to the High Court to issue a permanent injunction stopping the nomination of another Bishop for the Diocese till the matter is disposed of.

Both the Luwero Diocese and the Search Committee are yet to respond to the fresh demands from the Christians. Recently, the caretaker Bishop of Luwero Diocese Rt. Rev. James William Ssebaggala told the media that the search for a new Bishop was ongoing and scoffed at the Christians protesting against the nullification of Kasana, saying they are living in denial instead of accepting the resolution by the House of Bishops.

Ssebaggala added that he was ready to hand over to the new Bishop in March this year after the end of his assignment to serve as caretaker for the Diocese. On October, 25th, 2023, the Principal Judge Flavian Zeija dismissed another case challenging the nullification of Kasana on the grounds the petitioners brought the case against the wrong party and that the court wasn’t competent enough to handle spiritual matters.

Zija added that the Anglican Church has canon laws and provides how the Bishop is appointed and how disputes relating to the elections are resolved. But the Christians have since rejected the ruling and instead petitioned a court of appeal to reverse the ruling. The Court is yet to hear the appeal.

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