The Bakonzo and Bamba Anglican communities in Bundibugyo District have resolved to reconcile, following a meeting held last week.
Last Thursday, the Bishop of Ruwenzori Diocese, Rev Reuben Kisembo, held a mediation meeting aimed at bringing an end to a dispute between the two communities.
The Bakonzo petitioned Archbishop Rev Stephen Samuel Kaziimba to intervene. They accused the Bamba and their king, retired Maj Martin Kamya, of influencing the process of selecting a bishop for West Ruwenzori Diocese.
The meeting which was at first scheduled to take place in the palace of Obundigiya Bwa Bamba (OBB) Kingdom in Bundibugyo. The Bakonzo, however, declined to step at the palace arguing that the venue was not neutral.
As a result, Bishop Kisembo and his team changed the venue to St Luke Church Buganikere. The Bakonzo and Bamba groups accepted the team’s invitation and attended the meeting. Members from Bakonzo Anglican community led by Mr Absolom Kambale, Mr Thembo Julius, Ezron Bazerabusa and Julius Murugutu, OBB Kingdom premier Wilson Agustin Mubulya and clergy of Bumadu, Bubandi and Kisonko archdeaconries, among others, attended the meeting.
Bishop Kisembo said: “We should not allow the devil to use a few members of this community to derail and divide us and cause us unnecessary conflicts.”
The Bakonzo said the conflict was triggered by some officials of the cultural institution of (OBB) who have been allegedly lobbying for a Mubwizi/Mwamba candidate to become bishop.
But Bishop Kisembo reiterated that the process of submitting forms by eligible clergy for consideration to be nominated to be elected as bishop was open and transparent and the cultural institution did not recommend any body.
“All clergy submitted on individual merit. I assured the members that the House of Bishops is composed of people of integrity who cannot be bribed to elect a particular candidate,” Bishop Kisembo said.
The House of Bishop is scheduled to sit today, and on the agenda is to elect and announce the first Bishop of the proposed diocese after the two nominated names were submitted on 1st March by the mother diocese of Ruwenzori.
The OBB prime Minister, Mr Mubulya said during the meeting all the parties reconciled and agreed to work together for the development of the new diocese.
“People in the meeting confessed and we had to forgive each other,” he said.
Resolutions of meeting
It was, among others resolved that two church leaders, two representatives from cultural institutions and two Bakonzo go on local FM radio stations in Bundibugyo and inform the public that their differences have been settled amicably and that they will start working together.
They also agreed that they will accept whoever shall be elected as Bishop for the West Ruwenzori Diocese, irrespective of his tribe.
They will also ensure fairness and gender balance when constituting Church Committees/Boards and appointing key positions in the Diocesan Secretariat and field staff.
The meeting also resolved to resume mobilising funds to print the Rukonzo and Rubwizi/Rwamba prayer books, complete infrastructural development projects at Bumadu and the consecration of the bishop of West Ruwenzori Diocese.
Mr Ezron Bazerabusa, who was lead petitioner from the Bakonzo community, said all the issues raised in the petition were discussed and concluded in the meeting.
“It’s true we reconciled during the meeting and we agreed no party should again attack one another on social media. On Monday no tribe should celebrate in case Bishop elect is Mukonzo or Mwamba because it may hurt another tribe,” he said.