The High Court in Kampala has dismissed a case challenging the decision of the House of Bishops to nullify the election of Reverend Canon Godfrey Kasana Ssemakula as the fourth Bishop of Luweero Diocese.
Seven Christians from Luwero Diocese led by David Lule Mutyaba Muzzanganda dragged Archbishop Dr. Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu to the High Court and demanded a declaration that the nullification of Kasana was null, void, and had no legal effect.
Other petitioners include; Patrick Kizito, Stephen Mutebi, Wasswa Paul Tumwebaze, Godfrey Bwenene Sabavuma, Fred Mubiru Zigwa, and Joyce Mawanda Mazzi.
Through M/S Waymo and Company Advocates, the petitioners alleged 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.
The plaintiffs asked the court to declare Rev. Canon Kasana Ssemakula as the fourth elected Bishop of Luwero Diocese and issue an order to consecrate him.
But Kaziimba through M/S Agaba Muheirwe filed an objection to the case in the court saying that the petitioners sued the wrong party, lacked the locus to institute the suit and it was an abuse of the court process.
Kaziimba further noted that the orders that the petitioners demanded were unenforceable by the court since the matter was a religious issue and asked the Court to dismiss it.
After hearing from the applicant and the reply from petitioners, today Principal Judge Flavian Zeija made a ruling allowing the application. Zeija said that it was apparent from the hearings that the communication about the cancellation of the election of Kasana was made by the Provincial Secretary of the Church of Uganda, Rev. Canon William Ongeng and it was the decision of the House of Bishops.
Zeija ruled that the petitioners brought the case against the wrong party and wondered how they claimed the petition against Kasana hadn’t been processed yet they were not a party to it nor the person whom they claimed to represent.
Zeija added that the Anglican Church has canon laws and provides how the Bishop is appointed and how disputes relating to the elections are resolved.
“Once you subscribe to a certain faith you must go by its tenets. The respondents subscribe to the Anglican faith. It’s not the business of the court to entertain disputes relating to the consecration of the Bishop and cannot appoint a Bishop for the Church. That is a spiritual matter for which the court cannot claim to be competent. The Anglican Church in Uganda has all necessary bodies to resolve such disputes,” the ruling reads in part
Zeija granted Kaziimba’s application before ordering that the main suit be dismissed and each party caters for its own costs to promote reconciliation in the church. The petitioners are yet to comment on the ruling.
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 the wedlock in contravention of Ten commandments and canon laws.