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Muhabura Diocese Christians Question Planned Early Retirement of Bishop Mugisha

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They accuse Bishop Mugisha of failing Church projects during his tenure, promoting nepotism, hatred and divisionism among Christians.
Rt. Rev.Cranmer Mugisha, Bishop o Muhabura Diocese

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A section of Christians from the Diocese of Muhabura in Kisoro district are up in arms against the Bishop, Rt. Rev.Cranmer Mugisha.

Rt.Rev.Mugisha who was consecrated in August 2007, replacing Bishop Ernest Shalita hinted at his early retirement while speaking during the extraordinary diocesan council meeting that was held on September 13. Mugisha is supposed to officially retire in 2024.

This has however angered a section of Christians across the diocese accusing him of rushing to retire after realizing that he is unable to rectify the mess and failure he has caused in the diocese. Ten concerned Christians have written to the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda expressing their dissatisfaction against Mugisha’s moves.

They are Bernard Muftimukiza, Renie Semiryango, Dinah Uwamaroho and Gerlad Twinomujuni from St. Andrew’s Cathedral. The others are Richard Nsengivunva, the churchwarden of Rutare Church of Uganda, Yosamu Tumwizere, Richard Nayishakiye from St. Johns Muganza Church of Uganda, Innocent Ndagijimana, Solomon Rugera from Rwaramba Church of Uganda and Reverend Harrison Kwizera -Parish priest Kibugu Church of Uganda.

They accuse Bishop Mugisha of failing Church projects during his tenure, promoting nepotism, hatred and divisionism among Christians.

Bernad Muftimukiza and Richard Nsengivunva argue that they have received information from a credible source that Bishop Mugisha is cutting short his journey to serve to influence the Diocesan Nominations Committee to have his cousin Rev. Steven Ruzaza whom he recently promoted to the level of Diocesan Secretary.

The Christians also accuse Mugisha of deliberately declining to forgive Christians of Muganza Church of Uganda parish in Seseme Archdeaconry. Mugisha suspended the Church and its priest Rev.Baker Habimana for receiving a donation of 650 iron sheets from Caesar Mulenga, a self-proclaimed King of Bafumbira, and proprietor of Caesar development Kingdom (CDK) towards the roofing of the church describing Mulenga as an enemy of the church.

Philemon Mateke, former Minister of State for Regional Affairs who is also the Muhabura Diocesan Synod member says that Bishop Mugisha must first give accountability to Christians about development in the diocese before retiring. Mateke says that Bishop Mugisha should have retired a long time ago before messing up the diocese. 

Mateke also says that Bishop Mugisha made several outbursts during the 2021 general elections which left many Christians divided.

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When contacted, Bishop Mugisha said that he has no time to comment on the allegations.

But Rev. Steven Ruzaza, Muhabura Diocesan Secretary rubbished all the accusations as untrue adding that the diocese is in peace.

Ruzaza says that Christians need not worry because the Bishop hasn’t retired for now and everything in the diocese is going on smoothly. Ruzaza however confirmed that Bishop Mugisha has hinted at his early retirement and he had during his consecration promised to retire early.

Ruzaza also says that the Bishop has initiated projects during his tenures like the on-going construction of a multi-million Cathedral, 260 rainwater harvesting tanks,  Shunga gravity flow scheme,  7 classrooms and an office block at Kalwa primary school, planted 44000 pine trees, completion Muhabura View guest house and chicken hatchery house among others.

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This is not the first time, Diocese of Muhabura is engaged in wrangles with a section of Christians. In 2007, Muhabura Diocese was hit by a row after the Christians rejected 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, he was stopped from entering the cathedral.