Christians force caretaker bishop out of meeting

Friday February 21 2020

Intervention. Police escort Bishop Charles

Intervention. Police escort Bishop Charles Odurakami out of the meeting in Kumi Town yesterday. PHOTO BY VINCENT EMONG 

By SIMON PETER EMWAMU & VINCENT EMONG

A meeting convened by the caretaker Bishop for Kumi Diocese, Rev Canon Charles Odurakami, yesterday ended prematurely after church members stormed St Stephens’s Church of Uganda in Kumi Town, demanding that the bishop-elect be reinstated.
A source told Daily Monitor that the meeting had been called to harmonise work relations between the clergy and disgruntled Christians after the House of Bishops on February 1 dissolved the election of Rev Charles Okunya as bishop-elect for Kumi Diocese.
The demonstrators, who carried placards, demanded that the caretaker bishop, who currently superintends over Lango Diocese, calls off the meeting with the clergy. They claimed the clergy allowed some politicians and businessmen to make decisions on behalf of the church.
Bishop Odurakami was whisked away by police under the command of Mr Oscar Vincent Okwir amid chants from angry Christians who vowed that if Rev Okunya is not installed bishop, “there will be no Kumi Diocese.” “There is no way out. The mafia has infiltrated the Church and they want to run Kumi Diocese. We shall not allow this,” Ms Harriet Acom, a Christian, said.
On November 7 last year, the House of Bishops that sat in Kampala elected Rev Okunya as next bishop to replace retired Bishop Thomas Edison Irigei.
However, some aggrieved Christians petitioned the church, protesting his election. This led to the cancellation of his election on February 1.
Prior to the cancellation, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali had instituted a committee of three bishops to investigate the allegations against the bishop-elect.
But Ms Acom said Rev Okunya was brought down by some malicious politicians and businessmen in Kumi.
She also claimed that some mafia had been invited to attend the meeting. “We shall not allow these hypocrites to drive Kumi Diocese down the drain,” Ms Acom said.

Accusations
She accused Dr John Ekure, a church member, of inviting police to block their peaceful protest. Ms Acom also said Dr Ekure, who owns a medical centre in Kumi Town, of being behind the “mess” in the diocese.
But Dr Ekure refuted the allegations, saying “the few people who turned up to frustrate the meeting were simply thugs.”
Dr Ekure had earlier confronted the district chairperson, Ms Christine Apolot, and accused her of masterminding the demonstration that disrupted the meeting called by the caretaker bishop. But Ms Apolot denied any wrongdoing and said she went to the venue to calm down the church members.
The caretaker bishop called for calm as he was being whisked away by police and urged Christians to allow the will of God to work.

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