Breaking

Police Foils Plans by Christians to Consecrate Rev. Okunya as Kumi Diocese Bishop

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.
Francis Masereka, the Officer in Charge Ngora CPS at the main ntry to the St. Phillps Cathedral.

Audio 2

The Police in Ngora has foiled a plan by a section of Christians to consecrate Rev. Charles Okunya Oode

as Bishop of Kumi Diocese.

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.

He was subsequently banned from taking part in any future contests for the Bishop’s seat. His efforts to reverse this through the Courts were equally quashed when Justice Musa Sekaana dismissed, a case that he filed against the Anglican Church challenging the cancellation of his appointment.

Justice Ssekaana said that at the time of his nomination, Rev Okunya was not qualified to be elected Bishop of Kumi since he had not yet made the mandatory age requirement of 45 years, but noted that, Okunya swore a statutory declaration, three days to the election, to indicate that he made a mistake when registering for his national identity card.

The controversy has sparked divisions amongst Christians and the clergy resulting in violence that left scores with injuries while many others were arrested and detained by the Police. While this raged, a section of Christians announced a plan to have Rev. Okunya consecrated with or without the consent and presence of the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, The Most Rev. Samuel Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu.

They wrote a notice through Silvanus Isiagi to the Ngora Resident District Commissioner and to the Police to provide security at the consecration venue. In a letter dated January 18, 2022, Isiagi said that the function was meant to commemorate the second anniversary of the election and cancellation of Rev. Okunya’s consecration in the Kumi Diocese.

Isiagi’s letter indicated that Rev. Okunya would be the main celebrant at the function that was expected to bring together more than 2,000 people. He also added that Rt. Rev. Charles Obaikol and Rt. Rev. Nicodemus Okille Engwalas, the retired bishops of Soroti and Bukedi Dioceses respectively would be in attendance.

However, the police deployed at St. Phillips Cathedral to ensure that the planned consecration doesn’t take place. On Sunday morning, more than 30 police officers were seen at the cathedral premises alone while all the major roads leading to Ngora were barricaded by the uniformed men.

The security heads also suspended prayers at the Cathedral, forcing Christians who fellowship at the Cathedral to resort to nearby churches or stay at home.

East Kyoga Regional Police Spokesman Oscar Gregg Ageca says the deployment was meant to secure the Cathedral, lives and property. He notes that the planned consecration was against the Anglican Church principles, which is responsible for the selection and consecration of new bishops.

//Cue in; “The various stakeholders…

Cue out…peace prevails.”//

Martin Luther Eulet, a lay reader of Agule Church of Uganda in Kapir Sub County says he was informed about the prayers by his reverend, a one he only identified as Aporu Akol. He, however, notes that the issue of the Bishop in Kumi requires God’s intervention because it has gone beyond the church principles. Eulet said it was strange to find the policemen instead of clergy in the Church.

//Cue in; “We have come…

Cue out…no bishop”//

Around 9 a.m, some Christians who didn’t know about the Police presence in Church were shocked to find it sealed off. A Christian, who identified herself as Catherine told our reporter that whereas it is shocking for the uniformed men to cordon off the church, it is not surprising especially for the church leaders in Kumi to lock horns.

“We want a bishop who is humble and anointed by God. The clergymen should stop body fights but rather allow the holy spirit to intervene”, she said.

//Cue in; “This is my church…

Cue out…happening.”//

Kumi Diocese comprises Kumi, Ngora and Bukedea districts. It was carved out of Soroti Diocese in 2001 and pioneered by the Rt. Rev. Thomas Edison Irigei who retired in December 2019.  So far, 51 people including lay readers and clergymen have been arrested and detained in Soroti.