Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, the Most Rev Dr Stephen Samuel Kaziimba has demanded an impartial inquiry into circumstances under which St. Peter’s Church in Ndeeba was demolished.
This is carried in his statement about the 40-year-old structure which was razed under the cover of darkness on Sunday, purportedly over a longstanding wrangle between the church leadership and a businessman only identified as Dodovico. For several months, the building was guarded by police.
According to the Archbishop, the demolition of the Church is barbaric and evil. He notes that if an action can not be done in broad daylight, then there is something deeply wrong and that it only tells of lost respect for God.
“This destruction of the House of God took place in the darkness of night during a curfew; and, the security forces, who are supposed to uphold the law and guard against destroyers, were allegedly complicit in the destruction of a House of God,” the Archbishop said. He added that under Ugandan law, the Church legally occupied the land in question.
“Squatters have rights after being on land for 12 years, and yet St. Peter’s Church has been on that land for 40 years. We call for a serious and impartial inquiry into this matter,” he demanded, adding that
the country being o under lockdown does not mean that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is also locked down.
“Likewise, the destruction of St. Peter’s Church, Ndeeba, will not deter the Church from preaching the gospel. Jesus promised us that the “gates of hell will not prevail against the Church of Jesus Christ.” (Matthew 16.18)…the church is needed now more than ever. We assure you of our prayers for a peaceful and just resolution to this tragic situation,” added Kaziimba.
The Archbishop condoles with all Christians and particularly Namirembe Diocese under whose Administration, the demolished Church falls.
“On behalf of the House of Bishops and all Christians of the Church of Uganda, we express our sincere condolences to the Bishop and people of Namirembe Diocese, and especially those of St. Peter’s Church, Ndeeba, on the destruction of their treasured building and House of Worship. We are grateful that our grandmother, who donated the land for the church, is not alive to see the destruction that has been done to the sacred place she gave as a gift to God,” further reads the Archbishop’s statement.
The Archbishop’s statement comes shortly after the one issued by the Namirembe Diocese Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira who also expressed dismay over the demolition of the Church.
Luwalira said that the beauty of the Church structure depicted the efforts that Christians put up to have a magnificent Church, which was ruined within minutes. He also noted that callous people took advantage of the movement restrictions in the night to tamper with the Church history.
On Monday, three police commanders were arrested for failure to stop the demolition of the Church. According to the Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson, Patrick Onyango, these were picked up for failure to provide security to Church properties.
They are; David Epedu, the Katwe Divisional Police Commander, Mugira Yeko Kato, the Officer in Charge of Ndeeba Police Station and Isabirye Kaloli, the Kampala Metropolitan South Region Field Force Unit-FFU Commander.
According to Onyango, the officers have been charged with neglect of duty. Also picked in connection to the incident are eleven suspects; Mohammad Kawooya, Muniru Bbosa, Amza Kiberu, Abbasi Mutebi, Ali Bulega, Simon Matovu, Ali Kalika, Andrew Mujuzi, Badru Ssekito, John Isirinya and Bashir Maruti.