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Security Cordons off Ngora Cathedral, Arrests 50 People

Rev. Okunya was elected by the House of Bishops as the second bishop of Kumi Diocese in November 2019 but his planned consecration and enthronement scheduled for December was cancelled. He was subsequently banned from taking part in any future contests for the bishop’s seat after he was accused of altering his date of birth.
Police Officer pushing some christian protesters to their patrol car at St. Phillips Cathedral.

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The Police in Ngora has arrested at least 50 people after sealing off St. Phillips Cathedral in Ngora district.  This follows the planned consecration of Rev. Charles Okunya Oode as the new Bishop for Kumi Diocese against arrangements of the Province of Church of Uganda.

Rev. Okunya was elected by the House of Bishops as the second bishop of Kumi Diocese in November 2019 but his planned consecration and enthronement scheduled for December was cancelled. He was subsequently banned from taking part in any future contests for the bishop’s seat after he was accused of altering his date of birth.

Since then, there have been sharp divisions amongst Christians and the clergy, a situation that has resulted in violence where scores were injured, arrested and detained by the Police. Rev. Okunya’s application to the Civil Division Court to overturn the House of Bishops’ decision was also dismissed in June 2021.

In December, a section of Christians in Kumi Diocese 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 to the security heads for permission to demonstrate over what they said was unjust treatment to Rev. Okunya and Kumi Diocese by the Province.

Since then, plans have been underway from churches in the three districts of Kumi, Ngora and Bukedea, which make up the Kumi Diocese, and by Friday, the different teams had shown up at St. Phillips Cathedral, the venue they hoped to have the priest consecrated. However, the Police and other security agencies cordoned off the area, stopping anyone from accessing the premises.

Ngora Resident District Commissioner Asanasio Kayizzi says the people arrested were trying to forcefully access the cordoned-off area. He adds that they have suspended Sunday prayers at the cathedral until the situation normalizes.

According to Kayizzi, the planned consecration is illegal because the parties involved have not been cleared by Archbishop. He adds that the parties objected to the advice and guidance given by the security teams when they wrote seeking permission to consecrate Rev. Okunya.

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Oscar Gregg Ageca, the East Kyoga Regional Police Spokesman says they have been monitoring the situation since Rev. Okunya’s faction announced their plans. “We have deployed at the cathedral to ensure that no illegal activity takes place there tomorrow”, he said.

Rt. Rev. Charles Odurkami, the Caretaker Bishop of Kumi Diocese says that the planned consecration is an illegality that can only be handled by security agencies.

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