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Archbishop Odama Speaks Out On Suspension of Fr. Onen

Speaking to Uganda Radio Network over the weekend, Archbishop Odama says Fr Onen’s decision to join politics goes against the church’s customs on conducts of priests which is likely to stir division among the flocks they lead.
Archbishop of Gulu Archdiocese John Baptist Odama speaking at a meeting in Kalongo Town Council In Agago district on Friday. Photo By Julius Ocungi

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The Archbishop of Gulu Archdiocese John Baptist Odama has spoken out on the suspension of Rev. Fr. Charles Onen from conducting priestly ministry and justified that the decision was inevitable.

Fr. Onen, the curate of Holy Rosary Catholic Parish was suspended by Archbishop Odama last month for engaging in active politics. Fr. Onen had expressed interest in contesting for the Gulu City East Division Parliamentary seat.

Speaking to Uganda Radio Network - URN today, Archbishop Odama says Fr. Onen’s decision to join politics goes against the church’s customs and conducts of priests which is likely to stir division among the flocks they lead.

He cites that during ordination, Fr. Onen like any other priest was given flocks to look after in the church, but notes that his deviation into partisan politics won’t make him a suitable person.  

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Archbishop Odama says it was necessary to relieve Fr. Onen his duties from the  church to disconnect his political conduct from that of the church. He however says that Fr. Onen is free to make a comeback if he realizes his mistake but notes that the archdiocese will initiate processes for him to first undergo before reinstatement.

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Fr. Onen didn’t immediately respond on this matter by press time saying he was busy. However, while addressing the press recently in Gulu, Fr. Onen noted that he had earlier requested Archbishop Odama to relieve him from church duties to allow him engage in politics calling the suspension a “blessing”. He said leadership is a calling that he wished to extend beyond the church to other people of diverse denominations.

Fr. Onen who has been duly nominated on an independent ticket by the Electoral Commission will tussle it out with five other aspirants in the race for Gulu City East Division Parliamentary seat. The others in the race are; Geoffrey Komakech (FDC), John Bosco Uhuru (Independent), Mwaka Lutukumoi (Independent), Simon Opoka (DP) and Robert Adongakulu (ANT).