The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu has filed his defense at High Court in response to a suit challenging the nullification of the election of Canon Kasana Ssemakula as Luwero Diocese Bishop-elect
Rev. Dr. Stephen Kazimba Mugalu through Agaba Muhairwe and Company advocates filled a defense at Luwero high court stating that at the earliest opportunity during the hearing, they will raise preliminary points of law on the contents of the plaint. He contends that the suit is barred in law, and doesn’t disclose a cause action against him. He adds filing such a suit, the petitioners abused the court process and therefore it should be dismissed.
Kaziimba in his defense dated 7th August this year argues that nullification of Canon Kasana Ssemakula as bishop-elect of Kasana was done in accordance with rules and regulations that govern the church of Uganda and by a duly mandated organ.
“The defendant contends and avers that election and consecration of a bishop in the church of Uganda is a matter of religious nature and calls for interpretation of provincial constitution and canons together with traditions and practices of the church and this honorable court has no jurisdiction to entertain the same as it amounts to judicial intervention in religious questions and the doctrine of ministerial exception applies to it.’’ a written defense reads in part.
He further adds that Kasana Ssemakula didn’t seek a review of the decision from the House of Bishops as the only organ that is mandated to handle disputes of this nature.
“The defendant avers that the election of Bishop is spiritual and Ecclesiastes matters within the jurisdiction of the church of Uganda organs subject to the laws, regulations, practices, and norms of the church while the civil court also has separate and independent jurisdiction from that of the church’’ the defense further reads.
Kaziimba also states that the plaintiffs are not practicing Christians and hence unschooled in the governance of the church of Uganda. Seven Christians from Luwero Diocese led by David Lule Mutyaba Muzzanganda petitioned Luwero High Court demanding a declaration that the nullification of Kasana was null, void, and has no legal effect.
Other petitioners include Patrick Kizito, Stephen Mutebi, Wasswa Paul Tumwebaze, Godfrey Bwenene Sabavuma, Fred Mubiru Zigwa, and Joyce Mawanda Mazzi.
According to the suit filed at Luwero High Court through Lubega and Company advocates and Waymo Advocates, the petitioners contended that the House of Bishops led by the Archbishop had no mandate to try ecclesiastical offenses under the constitution and canon law which are the preserve of Diocese and Provincial tribunals.
The plaintiffs also further contend that Kasana was not summoned and given a fair hearing before the House of Bishops nullified his elections which contravenes principles of natural justice hence making the decision illegal.
According to a summons issued on 20th July this year by Jane Mugala the registrar of Luwero High Court, Archbishop Kaziimba Mugalu who is the only defendant was given 15 days to file a defense in the suit instituted against him, or the judgment is given in his absence.
Rev. Dr. Stephen Kazimba Mugalu concluded by stating that the plaintiffs’ suit is frivolous, vexatious and should be dismissed with costs.
He listed officials and members of the church, the provincial secretary of the church of Uganda and others as witnesses.
David Lule Muzzanganda a lead petitioner says they are ready to proceed with the case at the hearing date which is yet to be fixed by the High Court.
Erastus Kibirango the LC 5 Chairman of Luwero district said the Church of Uganda should accept mediation talks so as to save time in court processes.
Rev. Canon Kasana Ssemakula’s election was nullified after a section of Christians led by Kenneth R. Kikabi, a congregant at St. Mark’s petitioned Archbishop Kaziimba accusing Kasana of siring a child outside wedlock in contravention of Ten Commandments and canon laws.
Right Reverend James William Ssebaggala the retired Bishop of Mukono Diocese is currently serving as caretaker of Luwero Diocese till March this year.