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Consecration of New Kumi Bishop Postponed Over Integrity Issues

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Rev. Okunya was scheduled to be consecrated and enthroned on December 29th, 2019, following his election in November 7th, 2019 at Namirembe Guest House, Kampala. He was to replace Rt. Rev. Thomas Edison Irigei who will still retire on December, 29th, 2019.
Rev. Charles Oode Okunya, the newly elected bishop of Kumi Diocese.
The consecration and enthronement of Rev. Charles Oode Okunya, the newly elected Bishop of Kumi diocese has been postponed indefinitely.  The postponement was announced during the House of Bishops meeting held on Saturday at Boroboro Parish in Lira district. 

This followed a petition by a group of people who preferred to call themselves as ‘Concerned Christians of Kumi Diocese’.  The concerned Christians, according to Rev. Canon William Ongeng, the Provincial Secretary for Church of Uganda allege that the newly elected Bishop had an extra marital partner with children.

Rev. Canon Ongeng told our reporter on phone that the enthronement of the new bishop has been delayed to allow the province investigate the claims. He notes that the province will be able to make a provision for the diocese by February, 2020. 

Rev. Okunya was scheduled to be consecrated and enthroned on December 29th, 2019, following his election in November 7th, 2019 at Namirembe Guest House, Kampala. He was to replace Rt. Rev. Thomas Edison Irigei who will still retire on December, 29th, 2019.

Rt. Rev. Irigei is the founder Bishop of Kumi Diocese, which was carved out of Soroti Diocese in 2001. The diocese comprises of Kumi, Bukedea and Ngora districts. According to the Provincial Secretary, Bishop Irigei will hand over the ecclesiastical and episcopal authority of the Diocese to the Archbishop and Canons Church of Uganda on the scheduled date as provided for in the Constitution until the Consecration and Enthronement of the new Bishop.

He explained that a service will be held on December 29th, 2019 at St Peter's Cathedral Ngora at 10am for Bishop Irigei's abdication. Christine Apolot, the Kumi District Chairperson attributes the new development to in fights within the clergy. She revealed that clergy influence Christians to fight their woes, that she observed, unfortunately affect the church.     

Although she declined to name some of the clergy and Christians involved, she expressed her disappointment over the conduct of some church leaders. "Rev. Okunya has been serving in Church for a long time, why didn’t they stop him or it’s only when one ascends to the level of Bishop?  There is a lot of mess in Kumi and Bukedea districts may be they need to elect someone from Ngora district. I am so disappointed with this development and it’s a big shame to Teso”, she said.

Rev. Okunya declined to comment when contacted over the postponement of his consecration and enthronement. In August, another attempt to elect a new Bishop for Kumi Diocese flopped when the nominees including Rev. Simon Omoding, a Lecturer at Uganda Christian University, Mbale Campus and Rev. Simon Ongangu, the Kumi diocesan Treasurer were rejected. Rev. Omoding, the supposedly preferred candidate for the position was reportedly dropped by the House of Bishops for undisclosed reasons.