High Court Judge Michael Elubu has today quashed an application by Kigezi Diocese Christians seeking to block the consecration of Bishop-Elect George Bagamuhunda. Canon Bagamuhunda, who was elected bishop in July, is slated for enthronement on January 19, 2014 at St. Peterâ€™s Cathedral Rugarama.
Canon Bagamuhunda, who was elected bishop in July, is slated for enthronement on January 19, 2014 at St. Peter’s Cathedral Rugarama. However, a section of Christians are challenging both his election and scheduled enthronement on grounds that he was favoured by outgoing Bishop, George Katwesigye.
On December 4, the Christians filed an application in the High Court at Kabale seeking for a temporary injunction against the consecration of the Bishop on grounds that he was unlawfully elected to the position. They accused Bishop Katwesigye of influencing the process of Bagamuhunda’s election.
But today, Justice Micheal Elubu dismissed the application saying the applicants will not suffer serious damages if the application was not granted. Justice Elubu added that the Diocese would suffer heavy damages if the application was granted since the consecration is less than a month away.
The Judge also revealed that the applicants are not members of the Synod, the decision-making body of the diocese, and that court could not rely on the information that they provided concerning the proceedings of the synod.
Shortly after the ruling, priests who had turned up in court started singing and rejoicing even before the judge had left the court room.
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Kigezi Diocesan Head of Laity Caleb Twinamasiko says that the decision by the court is the best ever adding that after all there was no need for an injunction. He says those behind the move are spoilers and the minority in the church and that they are not even capable of causing any divisions in the church.
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Leonard Tumwesigye, one of the applicants, says they will respect the court decision and wait for the main suit to be disposed of. He however, describes the decision as unfair since the hearing of the main suit will start on January 22, three days after the consecration.
He says the decision by the court leaves the fate of Christianity in the Diocese at the mercy of God. He accuses the Diocesan leaders of failing to guide the Laity and faults the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, His Grace Stanley Ntagali, for failing to provide a solution to the concerns of the Christians despite being approached on several occasions.
Tumwesigye says the Archbishop should have ensured that issues in the Diocese are attended to without letting the Christians feel like lost sheep. Ntagali has repeatedly tried to mediate in the conflict.
He claims that the Diocesan Leaders have resorted to pursuing lies for their personal benefit instead of ensuring that revival in the diocese is upheld.
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The applicants were represented by Allan Tumwesigye of Tumwesigye and Baingana Company Advocates while the Diocese was represented by Francis Butagira of Butagira and Company Advocates.