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High Court dismisses case stopping Kigezi Diocese bishop’s consecration

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Some members of the clergy and Christians sing songs of praise after the High Court dismissed the injunction stopping them from consecrating Bishop-elect Can George Bagamuhunda.

Some members of the clergy and Christians sing songs of praise after the High Court dismissed the injunction stopping them from consecrating Bishop-elect Can George Bagamuhunda. PHOTO BY ROBERT MUHEREZA 

By Robert Muhereza

Posted  Tuesday, December 31  2013 at  02:00

In Summary

Justice Elubu stated that the complainants delayed to submit their application yet they learnt of the alleged irregularities in August but went to court in December.

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KABALE

High Court in Kabale has dismissed an application filed by three Christians from the Diocese of Kigezi seeking a temporary injunction stopping the consecration of the Rev Can George Bagamuhunda as the forth bishop of the Diocese.

Can Bagamuhunda’s consecration is slated for January 19, 2014.
The Christians claimed that the manner and process in which Can Bagamuhunda was elected is against the constitution of the Church of Uganda and that the synod was not properly constituted.

Mr Leonard Tumwesigye, Mr Godfrey Binaisa and Mr Cyrus Kyomukama on December 4, filed a civil suit demanding for a temporary injunction stopping the registered trustees of the Province of the Church of Uganda and Diocese of Kigezi as well as the outgoing Bishop George Katwesigye from consecrating Can Bagamuhunda as the new bishop.

The complainants, through their lawyers Tumwesigye, Baingana and company advocates, claimed on August 15, 2012, the Diocese of Kigezi convened a synod that made irregular resolutions, including the election of the electoral college which nominated Can Bagamuhunda.

In early August, the synod forwarded the names of Can Bagamuhunda and Rev Geoffrey Byarugaba to the House of Bishops for consideration and on August 15, the House of Bishops elected Can Bagamuhunda as bishop.

Dismissing the application yesterday, Justice Michael Elubu said the petition has no merit as the complainants were not members of the synod and did not state the source of their information about the irregularities they claim. He also said that they delayed to submit their application, adding that an injunction is an equable doctrine that delay defeats.

“It’s evident that the applicants are guilty of excessive delay in bringing this application at this time with hardly three weeks to the consecration. The complainants learnt of the alleged irregularities in August 2012 during a synod but filed the case on December 4. In the result and for the above reasons, this application stands dismissed,” Justice Elubu ruled.

Christians walked out of court singing praise songs for their victory.
The Diocesan Secretary, Rev Obed Turihohabwe, thanked God for the victory and said that dismissing the injunction has stirred ahead the programme for the consecration Bishop George Bagamuhunda.

“We are happy because God has prevailed over his church. Dismissing this application has saved the diocese from a terrible loss of funds that have been already invested in goods and services that were already purchased before this case was filed. Glory be to God,” Rev Turihohabwe said.

Similar consecration conflicts

In 2001 the House of Bishops elected Rev Can David Sebuhinja to be the Bishop-elect of Muhabura Diocese. The Head of Laity and other leaders in the Diocese, however, refused to accept his appointment. This led to a five-year standoff between different groups in Muhabura Diocese and the House of Bishops. Muhabura Diocese was curved out of Kigezi Diocese.

It took the intervention of then Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi and a delegation of 13 bishops from all over the Province for a weekend pastoral visit to Muhabura. The bishops went to listen to the concerns of various parties and together to seek the mind of Christ for a solution to the stalemate.

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