The archdeacon of Kihiihi Archdeaconry in Kinkizi Diocese, the Rev Justus Tibesigwa, has petitioned the office of the Archbishop of Church of Uganda protesting his suspension, saying it is null and void because the diocesan secretary has no jurisdiction to sanction his removal.
The Rev Can Kenneth Kanyankole, the Kinkizi Diocesan secretary, notified the Rev Tibesigwa of the suspension in a December 26 letter.
The suspension, which began on January 1, is intended to allow investigations into the Rev Tibesigwa’s alleged ecclesiastical offences and misconduct.
He is being accused of wedding a couple in Queen Elizabeth National Park on July 17 last year, contrary to the law, starting an NGO and fundraising for the face-lift of Kihiihi Kindergarten School without the knowledge of the diocesan administration.
“The Rev Can Kenneth Kanyankole is a diocesan secretary. He has no powers of a bishop, bishop assistant, co-adjutor or suffragan bishop. Therefore, in exercising powers not vested in him, he wilfully violated the provincial constitution, provincial canons and diocesan constitution an act which falls under the ecclesiastical discipline under canon 3.28.2 (F) which is an ecclesiastical offence,” the January 8 petition reads in part.
“Although a decision made by a person without a jurisdiction is null and avoid, the decision still stands and he has not corrected it. This would warrant litigation in courts of law in order to challenge it. Your grace, such an act is inexcusable if it is done by a senior clergy holding the position of diocesan secretary as he is expected to be aware of the provisions of the provincial constitution, canons and the diocesan constitution,” the letter adds.
The Rev Tibesigwa also said he is mindful of the provisions of article 21 (4) of the provincial constitution that provides that; “any person who is subject of this constitution by virtue of being a member of church of Uganda shall not seek redress in any external adjudicatory body in connection with a matter that can be handled before he or she has exhausted all dispute resolution mechanism under this constitution.”
The cleric added that he respects the due process as envisaged under the provincial constitution, and he has confidence that the Archbishop will be in position to resolve the matter through the dispute resolution mechanism to correct the illegality. The Rev Tibesigwa also denied the allegations, saying his suspension is a mere witchhunt, baseless and malicious.
When contacted on Monday, the provincial secretary of Church of Uganda, the Rev Can William Ongeng, said the Archbishop had received the petition, adding that the matter has since been discussed and recommendations made.
“The petition was received and handled by his grace, the Archbishop and discussions were made before recommending that the matter be handled at their home diocesan headquarters,” the Rev Can Ongeng said.