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Poor documentation, greed threatens church land countrywide- Bishops

Bishops during their visit to the demolished church in Ndeeba. Courtesy photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Poor record-keeping and greed among descendants is a threat to the church and all its investments across the country. This is according to Bishops under the province of the Church of Uganda who visited a site in Ndeeba, of a church structure which was demolished after a protracted land wrangle.

The church in question was demolished on Sunday night after a suit by the joint administrators of the estate of late Evelyn Nachwa, a Buganda Kingdom princess. The administrators accused the church of fraudulently being registered on the title for the land in question.

The prelates who were in Kampala for a special seating of the house of Bishops wept in disbelief upon arrival at the site of the ruined sanctuary this morning. However, they pointed out that what happened in Ndeeba is just a tip of the iceberg.

Mityana Diocesan Bishop James Bukomeko observes that whereas the church control’s chunks of land, there are intensifying struggles over its ownership. Bishop Bukomeko notes that many of the land transactions were not documented while some of the offers were based on oral agreements and mutual understanding between the party’s involved.

East Rwenzori Diocese Bishop George Turyasingura says the church needs to refocus its policies on how land is managed and take the Ndeeba incident as an eye-opener to transform the way church land is acquired and secure all the other contested areas before they face a similar fate.

The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda the Most Rev Samuel Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu also appealed to the descendants of the people who offered land to the church to respect the decisions of their forefathers and not be driven by greed.

West Buganda Diocese Bishop Katumba Tamale says that Christians and leaders at every church need to ensure that they legally obtain documentation of any donations so that they avert future troubles.

Meanwhile, besides the descendants who are claiming land that is occupied by the Church in different areas, the institution is also facing another challenge of squatters who illegally settled on its land. The Provincial Secretary Rev. Canon Captain William Ongeng stresses that this at times happens when land is left idle for years.

Meanwhile, Bishop Jackson Thembo Nzerebende, the dean of the Province of Church of Uganda who also doubles as the Bishop of South Rwenzori Diocese observes that whereas there are laws written in the books, at times the justices need to raise a question of morality before disposing off matters that involve the interest of communities.

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