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Two Christians Seek Permanent Injunction on Selection of Bishop Mugisha’s Successor

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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.
Muhabuura Diocese Bishop Rt.Rev. Cranmer Mugisha

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Two Christians from Muhabura diocese have petitioned the High court seeking a permanent injunction stopping the selection process of the successor to Bishop Cranmer Mugisha. Th petitioners are Innocent Ndajimana and Solomon Rugera Kaana, residents of Murambi and Chahi villages respectively in Kisoro district.  

On September 13, 2021, during the extraordinary diocesan council meeting, Bishop Mugisha hinted at early retirement. Mugisha who was consecrated in August 2007 to replace Bishop Ernest Shalita is supposed to retire in 2024.  He has, however, opted for early retirement.  

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 realizing his mistakes of failing Church projects, promoting nepotism, hatred, and division among Christians.

On October 11th, 2021 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. Rev. Canon Captain William Ongeng, the Church of Uganda Provincial Secretary confirmed that they had cleared the process to proceed.  

However, the move has not gone down with the petitioners. They have 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.

Ndajijimana also says that they decided to seek a permanent injunction on the selection process because Bishop Mugisha did not reveal the time he is retiring and give the reasons for his decision. He also says that Sendegeya is illegally occupying the office of the diocesan chancellor since there is no diocesan constitution to determine the manner of his appointment and tenure. 

He also says that since Sendeyega is a grandson of Bishop Mugisha it will be easy for the retiring cleric to influence him to select his preferred successor.  

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Our reporter also saw the high court summon directing the Trustees of Church of Uganda, Bishop Mugisha, Archbishop Mugalu, and Sendeyeya to file their defense within 15 days. Efforts to get a comment from Bishop Mugisha were futile as he could not pick his phone. 

But Rev. Steven Ruzaza, Muhabura, the Secretary of Muhabuura diocese, says that they are yet to be served with the petition, adding that the diocese is at peace. Ruzaza’s comment was not different from that of Rev. Canon Captain Ongeng, who also told our reporter that he has neither received any court summons nor heard of the petition.  

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Ndajijimana explains that when their lawyers went to serve the diocesan officials, they all took off and locked outside the diocesan offices.

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According to an inside source, Rev. Ruzaza, Canon Mbitse Godfrey, the Archdeacon of Gisorora Church of Uganda archdeaconry and Canon Phillip Muhire of St. Andrews Cathedral Sub dean are being scrutinized by the diocesan nominations committee as possible replacements to Mugisha.

This is not the first time, Muhabura diocese is engaged in wrangles with a section of Christians. In 2007, Muhabura Diocese was hit by a row after the Christians rejected the Bishop-elect Rev. Canon David Sebuhinja, who has since been ordained Bishop in Mbale and given another ministry outside his mother diocese, Muhabura.

 

In 2002, Christians planted needles in the seat of Bishop Shalita. When the former Archbishop, Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo, went to Muhabura to arbitrate, angry Christians blocked him from entering the cathedral.

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