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Church of Uganda Denies Chancellor’s Dismissal

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Election of Namirembe Diocese Bishop Delayed Due to Petition
Election of Namirembe Diocese Bishop Delayed Due to Petition
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The Church of Uganda (COU) has denied reports that it dismissed Namirembe Diocese chancellor, lawyer Frederick Mpanga. Reports had suggested that the House of Bishops took this action due to Mpanga’s alleged involvement in the controversial nomination of two candidates scheduled for election.

The vacancy for the position of Namirembe bishop-elect arose as retiring Bishop Kityo Luwalira was set to step down. Some elders raised concerns that Mpanga’s nomination committee had controversially selected two candidates, namely The Rev. Moses Banja and The Rev. Abraham Muyinda.

COU spokesperson Sadiiki Adams stated, “We categorically refute these allegations, regarding them as false, unsubstantiated, and clearly intended to generate unnecessary public distress.”

The House of Bishops, located at the Provincial Secretariat in Namirembe, postponed the election of the New Bishop of Namirembe Diocese following a petition from elders and certain members of the selection committee who contested the nomination of the two candidates. To address these concerns, a committee comprising five Bishops and the provincial chancellor will investigate the allegations and report their findings.

The five bishops tasked with the investigation include chairperson Bishop Johnson Gakumba (Northern Uganda), Bishop Micheal Lubowa (Central Buganda), Bishop Michael Okwii Esakahn (Kumi), provincial chancellor counsel Naboth Muhairwe, and Bishop Johnson Twinomujuni of West Ankole.

Although the House of Bishops deferred the election, they proceeded to elect the Rev. Can. Paul Hannington Suubi as the first Bishop of East Busoga Diocese. COU spokesperson Sadiki noted that the nomination process for the new Bishop of Namirembe is ongoing, and recommendations made by the House of Bishops will be communicated to the nominations committee in due course.

Elders who expressed concerns alleged that Mpanga led the nomination process with a conflict of interest and took sides. They accused Mpanga of unilaterally selecting Banja and Muyinda as the favored candidates and requested the committee’s endorsement without proper vetting, which only three of the 15 committee members supported.

The petition highlighted that Rev. Muyinda did not originally apply for the bishop’s position and was added at the last minute. The elders raised concerns about circumvention of canon laws, particularly regarding academic qualifications.

The source mentioned that only Banja met the specific qualifications advocated by the lawyer, and Banja had previously applied for the position of bishop of Luweero, where he was disqualified for lack of experience.