Elders Petition Archbishop Kaziimba Over Fraudulent Nomination Process of Namirembe Bishop

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Kampala: Elders in the Anglican Diocese are petitioning Archbishop Kaziimba Mugalu following the fraudulent nomination of Rev Moses Banja and Rev Abraham Muyinda as candidates to replace the retiring Bishop Kityo Luwalira.

The elders are accusing Kampala lawyer Frederick Mpanga of AF Mpanga Advocates who is the chancellor of the diocese for fraud. On Saturday, Mpanga called for a nomination meeting at Kings College Budo where the candidates for the position of Namirembe Bishop could be vetted for the two names that would be forwarded to the House of Bishops.

In the meeting, which ended past midnight, Mpanga instead turned up with the usual tricks of selecting who he thinks are the right candidates. Mpanga this time came with two names: Moses Mpanga and Abraham Muyinda asking the committee to endorse them.

Of the 15 committee members, 13 attended the Saturday meeting. And only three out of the 15 members in attendance endorsed Mpanga’s proposal of simply endorsing without vetting and electing as per the law. The three are Mpanga himself, former Bukedde editor Geoffrey Kulubya and Robinah Kizito, the Headmistress of Gayaza High School. The remaining 10 members refused to endorse Mpanga’s fraudulent nomination of Banja and Muyinda.

Seeing the situation going out of hand, Mpanga adjourned the meeting to Monday 2nd October for the committee to meet again. However, on Monday, Mpanga did not call for the meeting. Instead, he is alleged to have sent the names of Banja and Muyinda to Archbishop Kaziimba.

Goeffrey Kulubya then hastily put up a news story that appeared in the New Vision of Tuesday 3rd October to try to force Mpanga’s nomination on the committee.

Sources within the nomination committee say Muyinda, the current vicar of Namirembe did not apply for the position of bishop and his candidature was smuggled in at the last hour. “Rev Muyinda never applied and was never among the original 10 people who applied for this position. He couldn’t have applied after the period of application had closed,” the source said.

Rev Muyinda was simply added in as a lightweight to provide a path for Banja to become bishop of Namirembe. Banja is said to be a close associate of Rev Kityo Luwalira, the outgoing bishop of Namirembe. During his master’s degree studies at the Uganda Christian University in Mukono, Luwalira used to reside at Banja’s residence. Luwalira’s children also resided at Banja’s house. Banja is husband to Dr Prof Olivia Nassaka, the current Vice Chancellor of Ndejje University.

At the time Luwalira enjoyed Banja’s hospitality at Mukono, Nassaka was a top administrator and professor at the Uganda Christian University. Luwalira wants to reward the 59-year-old Banja for having done favours for him.

Mpanga is accused of circumventing the canon laws on who qualifies to be a bishop particularly the issue of academic qualifications.

Canon 3.6 on the election and consecration of bishops didn’t give any order as to what a candidate for bishop studied first. The particular law reads that “no person shall be appointed Bishop unless he/she has attained the age of Forty-Five (45) years and is a holder of at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology or Divinity, or first degree in any other field with an additional Diploma in Theology from a recognized Theological Institution by Church of Uganda provided that a Bishop shall retire after serving for a period of fifteen (15) years or upon attaining the age of sixty-five (65) years, whichever comes first.”

The 10 committee members who opposed Mpanga’s interpretation of the law cited the example of the newly elected Bishop of Mukon, Rt Rev Enos Kitto Kagodo who had a certificate in theology first before attaining a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and then a Masters in Divinity, which he attained in February this year.
“Mpanga is using this to misinterpret the law and disqualify those who got the bachelor’s degrees before theology diplomas. He claims the diploma in theology should have come first. Of the original candidates who qualified, only Banja falls into this category,” the source added.

Mpanga is said to be close to Bishop Luwalira and even bought him a vehicle for in exchange rewarded him with the position of chancellor.

Now the Namirembe elders are petitioning Archbishop Kaziimba to put a halt to Luwalira and Mpanga’s machinations to have his preferred candidate as the bishop of Namirembe.

Banja previously applied for the now vacant position of bishop of Luweero where he was disqualified for lack of experience before that very election was overturned due to various irregularities similar to those affecting Namirembe today.

Mpanga told our reporter that he was to issue a statement on Monday but didn’t answer our repeated phone calls and text messages when contacted again for his remarks.

This is a developing story. More to come

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