On Tuesday, armed police officers drove to Rev. Okunya’s home with the intention of arresting the cleric for reportedly snubbing the first summons last month. He was asked to report to Kumi CPS, which he did moments later.
Rev. Okwii says that he will try his best to bring the people of Kumi diocese together and promote peaceful co-existence amongst Christians. "I am not going to join any camp existing in Kumi and I will not promote hostilities in the diocese. For me I do not belong to any camp in Kumi my approach is dialogue and resolving issues amicably," Okwi said.
Rev. Okunya was elected by the House of Bishops as the second bishop of Kumi Diocese in November 2019. However, his planned consecration and enthronement scheduled for December were cancelled on grounds that he had altered his year of birth from 1975 to 1970 to bring himself in the constitutional and canonical age bracket, which he had not attained by 2019 when he was nominated for the position.
Rev. Okunya was elected by the House of Bishops as the second bishop of Kumi Diocese in November 2019 but his planned consecration and enthronement scheduled for December was cancelled. He was subsequently banned from taking part in any future contests for the bishop’s seat after he was accused of altering his date of birth.
John Robert Odeke, the Chairperson of the Laity in Mukura Archdeaconry, says that they have resolved to have Rev. Okunya consecrated, a decision he notes may not be affected by the Archbishop’s presence.
Bishop Odurkami, who was responding to issues relating to the ongoing standoff between the Province and Rev. Charles Oode Okunya, said that the embattled priest enjoys the support of several clergies that he noted received training under his leadership during his tenures as the principal of the bible college in Kumi.
On November 7th, 2019, the House of Bishops announced Rev. Charles Okunya Oode bishop-elect for Kumi Diocese. However, Rev. Okunya’s election was overturned by the House of Bishops on February 5th, 2020. The then Archbishop of Church of Uganda, Stanley Ntangali appointed retired bishop of Lango Diocese, Rt. Rev. Charles Odurkami as the caretaker of the Diocese.
"Following the pending process and activities in the Diocese, this is to request you to continue as caretaker Bishop of Kumi Diocese until a substantive Bishop is elected and consecrated." the letter reads in part.
Mpungu reveals that preliminary information indicates that some of the attackers were dropped by a taxi while others arrived on Boda bodas. He says they have transferred the suspect’s file from Ngora to the regional police headquarters due to public interest in the matter.
The Diocese was thrown in turmoil when the House of Bishops revoked the appointment of Rev. Charles Okunya Oode as the Bishop-elect of Kumi, taking over from Rt. Rev. Thomas Edson Irigei, who had clocked retirement age.
Some Christians tried to catch up with the early morning service at St. Phillips Cathedral, which however was disrupted by protestors, who stormed the premises with placards. Our reporter saw some Christians leaving the Cathedral as the drama ensued and stood at a distance to watch events as they unfolded.