Muhabura Bishop dragged to Court

The High Court in Kampala has summoned Muhabura Diocese Bishop, Rt Rev Cranmer Mugisha, and Church of Uganda to defend themselves in a case challenging the prolonged stay in office of the former.

Believers identified as Ms. Naboth Tumubweine and Mr. Rodgers Duhimbaze, all residents of Kisoro district through their lawyers, M/s Ngaruye Ruhindi, Spencer and Co. Advocates on November 7, filed a suit against Church of Uganda registered trustees and Bishop Mugisha seeking a court declaration that he is no longer the Bishop of Muhabura Diocese.

They also wanted an order disapproving all the resolutions made by the synod meeting that was held on October 31, which the Bishop convened and chaired.

The summons notice dated November 11 read in part shows that the above-named plaintiff has instituted a suit against you upon the claim and the particulars of which are set out in a copy of the plaintiff attached hereto, you are hereby required to file defence in the said suit within 15 days from the date of service of the summons on you

The two plaintiffs aver that Bishop Mugisha’s term of office as Bishop of Muhabura Diocese expired on August 26 after serving for 15 years as required by article 13 of the Church of Uganda provincial constitution.

The constitution stipulates terms for the appointment and the retirement of the bishops and clause 6 specifically provides that a bishop shall retire after serving for a period of 15 years or upon attaining the age of 65 or whichever comes first.

The petitioners asked court to issue a permanent injunction restraining Bishop Mugisha from convening and chairing any further synod meetings of the Diocese of Muhabura or participating in any other business to do with the management of the affairs of the diocese.

They also appealed to court to restrain the registered trustees of the Church of Uganda and Bishop Mugisha from allegedly continuing to breach the Church of Uganda provincial constitution and provincial canons.

Although Bishop Mugisha did not answer our repeated calls, the diocesan secretary for Muhabura Diocese, Rev Stephen Ruzaaza said their lawyers are yet to file their defence. 

Rev Ruzaaza said the diocesan administration received a copy of the High Court summons

In September 2021, Bishop Mugisha, selected for an early retirement and a process to pick his successor commenced. However, a section of concerned Christians petitioned court, claiming the process was being done in contravention of the Church of Uganda canons.

In November last year, High Court in Kampala issued an interim order restraining the Archbishop of Church of Uganda from convening the House of Bishops to pick the next Bishop of Muhabura Diocese although the plaintiffs later opted to settle the matter out of court.

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