Luwero, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A section of Christians in Luwero Diocese has petitioned the Provincial Chancellor of the Church of Uganda to halt the election of a fourth Bishop for the Diocese.
Reverend Eridard Nsubuga Kironde the current Bishop of Luwero Anglican Diocese is set to retire in July this year after clocking the mandatory 65 years. The Diocese has set Sunday 6th July ,2023 for the enthronement of the new Bishop.
As a result, the Diocese instituted a committee led by city lawyer Apollo Makubuya the Chancellor of Luwero Diocese to search for a replacement and submit two names to the House of Bishop to choose the successor.
On Wednesday, the committee selected Reverend Abel Sserwanja Merewooma the parish priest of St Stephens’ Church Kireka in Namirembe Diocese and Reverend Canon Godfrey Kasana the Archdeacon of Ndejje Archdeaconry in Luwero Diocese as successful candidates from eight aspirants for the seat.
The House of Bishops is expected to sit and elect Luwero Bishop from the two candidates on 1st April 2023.
However, on Friday a section of Christians led by Kenneth R.Kikabi a congregant at St Mark Cathedral submitted a petition dated 16th March 2023 to the Provincial Chancellor of the Church of Uganda demanding the elections be halted and investigations made on the entire process.
Kikabi said that the committee was unlawfully constituted and comprises some members that don’t represent any group in the church.
He adds the election process has been marred with bribery in favor of Reverend Abel Sserwanja Merewooma.
Kikabi cites 15th March this year on the day the selection was done when members of the committee allegedly received envelopes containing cash from the campaign team of Rev.Sserwanja to bribe them to vote for him.
He adds that members of the Select Committee that visited St Stephens’ Church Kireka for an official inquiry on the candidate of Rev. Sserwanja also received money from the lay leader who told them it was an appreciation from the candidate.
Kikabi also alleges that a staff of Luwero Diocese received 20 million shillings in name of a love offering from the relatives of relatives of Rev. Sserwanja with aim of soliciting support for the candidate.
The petitioners say that their allegations are backed with evidence which they will submit during the investigations.
The committee is also accused of nominating Rev. Sserwanja on 12-13th February before he attained the required minimum age of 45 years and postponed selections till 15th March to enable him to celebrate his birthday on March 4th.
As a result, the petitioners have asked the Provincial Chancellor to stop the elections, investigate corruption tendencies in the process and disqualify both the committee as well as the selected candidates.
The petitioners vowed to seek legal redress in case the church doesn’t take action as requested.
“We deem this process undeserving and Unworthy of Christian Faiths that emphasize the need to end corruption and foster honesty. Such candidates and select committee members can never be pillars in ending corruption not only in church and country at large. ’’ The petition reads in part.
When reached for comment Reverend Abel Sserwanja Merewooma said he was unable to comment on the matter which is before his superiors.
The petition was copied to Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu , Luwero Bishop Eridard Nsubuga Kironde, All Bishops, Diocesan Chancellor and the Diocesan Secretary.
Naboth Muhairwe the Provincial Chancellor of the Church of Uganda declined to comment on the petition saying he is yet to read its contents whereas Apollo Makubuya the Chancellor of Luwero Diocese who led the search committee was unavailable on phone.