The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, the Most Rev. Dr. Stephen Samuel Kaziimba, has gratefully received today’s decision of Hon. Justice Ssekaana Musa of the High Court on the case of Rev. Charles Oode Okunya (Plaintiff) vs. The Registered Trustees of the Church of Uganda (Defendant).
The House of Bishops elected Rev. Okunya to be the 2nd Bishop of Kumi Diocese on 7th November 2019. The Constitution and Canons of the Church of Uganda stipulate the minimum age of 45 years for all candidates for Bishop. After the election, it was discovered that Rev. Okunya’s date of birth had been falsified and that he was not actually 45 years old at the time of the election. The House of Bishops, therefore, nullified the election.
Rev. Okunya then proceeded to sue the Registered Trustees of the Church of Uganda and claimed the right to become the 2nd Bishop of Kumi Diocese.
In today’s decision, Hon. Justice Ssekaana Musa dismissed the case. He also gave his opinion that the legal age of Rev. Charles Oode Okunya disqualified him from being eligible to be elected as a Bishop in the Church of Uganda.
Archbishop Kaziimba said, “This lawsuit has held the Diocese of Kumi hostage for more than a year and a half and has prevented them from moving forward as a diocese. I am very grateful for retired Bishop Charles Odurkami for his willingness to come out of retirement and serve as the Caretaker Bishop while this case worked its way through the court system. He has done a great job of providing Gospel leadership in a challenging situation, and I thank him so much for his commitment to the Lord and the Lord’s people.”
The Archbishop continued, “It’s always a great source of shame when Christians, especially clergy, take the church to court. We encourage grievances to be resolved outside of the courts in the way Jesus commanded us. Kumi Diocese has been through a challenging season and it will take time for healing to occur. We encourage the various factions in the Diocese to accept the ruling of the High Court and to begin the process of reconciliation and healing. The process for electing a new Bishop will begin in due course.”