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Anglican priest sues Church of Uganda over failure to consecrate him as Bishop

Anglican priest sues Church of Uganda over failure to consecrate him as Bishop

By Godfrey Olukya
VOL African Correspondent
September 24, 2020

An Anglican priest who had been elected as a Bishop but later dropped, has dragged the Church of Uganda into a court of law.

The Rev. Charles Okunya Oode has sued the Church of Uganda over its failure to consecrate him as the second Bishop of Kumi Diocese, a position he had been elected to.

His consecration and enthronement as the second Bishop of Kumi Diocese was revoked after some Christians complained that he was not morally fit to be a Bishop. They reportedly said he had a second wife.

Oode is also seeking an injunction to stop the election of another overseer until his suit is disposed of.

Court clerk Maureen Namata said, "the Rev Oode filed the suit on September 14 at the Kampala Civil Division. He sued the registered trustees of the Church of Uganda."

She said that in the suit it is indicated that Rev. Oode's consecration was revoked by the Archbishop of Church of Uganda, The Most Rev. Stephen Kazimba on December 16th 2019.

In his suit, Oode said the revocation of his consecration tarnished his reputation and has caused economic loss, psychological torture and mental anguish.

A local paper, the Daily Monitor quoted Oode stating that he has a right to the religious office, which the defendant is threatening by his actions.

According to Daily Monitor the Rev. Oode's lawyer, Caleb Alaka said as a result of the defendant's actions, more than 7,500 Christians of Kumi Diocese led by Mr. Silvanus Isiagi, petitioned the archbishop demanding that the plaintiff be consecrated.

Mr. Isaigi, said the election of the Rev. Oode as the Bishop of Kumi Diocese was postponed as a result of some malicious allegations that led to a probe conducted by three bishops on January 20, as approved by the House of Bishops sitting at Boroboro in Lira.

He added that the findings submitted to the House of Bishops in Mityana on February 2 exonerated Mr. Oode and the petitioners demanded that a date be set for the 'scientific' consecration of the bishop.

"Your lord, this will bring to an end the impasse the diocese currently finds itself in and the baseless accusation detrimental to personalities of the church leadership, and the Anglican Church as whole," said Mr. Isaigi.

The suit adds that on December 16, 2019, the archbishop communicated to the Rev. Oode that there were complaints raised against him regarding his first relationship with one Dinah Amongin, and that the couple had children for which the plaintiff was to respond to in writing.

The Rev. Oode said despite the defendant refusing to avail him with a copy of the complaints (by some concerned Christians), he made a response on the said allegations, adding that the same woman, and her father, Stephen Onyait, also wrote to the archbishop in respect to the allegations.

Mr. Alaka said on September 1, the archbishop wrote to the plaintiff further requesting him to respond to the resolutions of the House of Bishops, stated in his letter dated February 5, addressed to the diocesan chancellor as to why his election was revoked.

"The bishop-elect has nothing to respond to since the House of Bishops already took a decision against him," Mr. Alaka said.

One of Oode's supporters, Samuel Odeke said, "We want him to become our next Bishop. His enemies are fighting hard to see that they fail him."

But Samson Okello who is against the consecration said; "A true priest cannot go to court to sue the Church because he has been dropped from being made a Bishop. That is a sign of selfishness."

Deputy Church of Uganda spokesman Mark Muwonge refused to comment because the matter is in court.


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