Tension Whelms Kigezi Diocese as Church Seeks to Recover Court Costs from Christians

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In short
The confusion, which could revive bickering between the Diocese and a section of its parishioners, was sparked off by the presentation to the court, of a bill of costs by Rev. Ezra Bikangiso, the Kigezi Diocesan Legal Adviser demanding for costs totaling to Shs 106 million. The cost is presented in three different bills.

Fresh wrangles are emerging in Kigezi Diocese after a demand for a payment of costs spent on defending the election and consecration of Bishop George Bagamuhunda in 2013.

The confusion, which could revive bickering between the Diocese and a section of its parishioners, was sparked off by the presentation to the court, of a bill of costs by Rev. Ezra Bikangiso, the Kigezi Diocesan Legal Adviser demanding for costs totaling to Shs 106 million. The cost is presented in three different bills.

This comes nearly a year after the two warring factions reconciled following the failure by the petitioners to obtain an injunction against the consecration. Three Christians had dragged the diocese to court challenging the procedure in which Rt. Rev. George Bagamuhunda was elected citing mistakes by the churches' nominations committee.

The Case was dismissed on March 12th 2014 by Justice Michael Elubu of Kabale High court after two of the remaining petitioners withdrew their interest. Subsequently, the contested Bishop; George Bagamuhunda was consecrated on 19th January 2014 at St. Peters Cathedral Rugarama.

However, the parishioners who had challenged the Bishops election are now accusing the Diocese of changing its stand in the reconciliation process. They claim that the demand for costs contradicts a decision taken by the Diocese in its initial plea to end the controversy.

Leonard Tumwesigye, one of the Christians from whom the lawyers are demanding costs incurred during the suit, describes the development as unfortunate.
 
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Tumwesigye says that the recent Meeting they had With Rt. Rev. George Bagamuhunda concluded that all the differences were put aside.
 
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Binaisa Godfrey, another of the petitioners says that the Diocese is Practicing Double standards. He quotes a communication from the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda Stanley Ntagali stating that the Church had paid the lawyers and there was no need to demand for money from Christians.

But Kigezi Diocesan Secretary, Rev. Canon Obed Turihohabwe told Uganda Radio Network that the Bishop and the Diocese are now focusing of uniting Christians and not willing to be part of kind of confusion. He further reveals that the final decision on the case and its consequences will be taken by the Diocesan Council.
 
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About the author

Anthony Kushaba
For Anthony Kushaba, journalism is not just a job; it is a calling. Kushaba believes journalism is one of the few platforms where the views of the oppressed and margainalised can be heard. This is what his journalism aims to do: bring to light untold stories.

Kushaba is the Mbarara region URN bureau chief. Mitooma, Ntungamo, Bushenyi, Sheema, Isingiro, and Kiruhura districts fall under his docket. Kushaba has been a URN staff member since 2012.

Kushaba is a journalism graduate from Uganda Christian University Study Centre at Bishop Barham College in Kabale. Before joining URN, Kushaba worked with Voice of Kigezi (2008), Bushenyi FM (2010) and later on to Voice of Muhabura.

Kushaba's journalism interests centre on conflict, peace and electoral reporting. Kushaba occasionally writes on tourism, health, religion and education. He describes himself as highly driven and will pursue a tip until it yields a story.