UGANDA: Bishops charge the Judiciary over  Ndeeba church demolition.

UGANDA: Bishops charge the Judiciary over Ndeeba church demolition.

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At least 37 representatives from the House of bishops from the Province of the Church of Uganda yesterday gathered in Ndeeba near Kampala to condole with Christians of St Peter’s Church, whose house of worship was demolished on Sunday.

The prelates also attacked the Judiciary for giving the family the green light to destroy their church.

Led by their dean and Rwenzori South bishop Jackson Nderebende, who read a joint statement, the bishops said the Judiciary in Uganda ought to exercise its duty with caution and moral aspects.
“Don’t simply look at the documented law, look at the moral aspect in destroying the building of God. An attack on one church is an attack to the entire Anglican Church, the entire Christian fraternity,” Bishop Nderebende said.
He said courts in Uganda should have a Christian and a Muslim at the helm and “those people are fruits of the religious foundation.”
“How can you sit on your chair and endorse the demolition of the church of God? We know there is room for dialogue, discussion. In my view, that’s what a right judge should recommend so that an issue like this one is resolved amicably,” he said.
Destroying a church, he said, is a direct attack on the souls and conscience of the people, and has consequences on the unity of the country.
“We pray that a barbaric decision like this one will never be made again, whether in the courts of Law, LCs or in a family court,” the bishop said.
He said the decision to break down the church is shameful for the country and has created a black spot in the history of Uganda.
However, the August 21, 2019 court filings show consent judgement as they were signed by three law firms of Nangwala, Rezida & Company Advocates on behalf of the children, Ambrose Tebyasa for those whose names had been entered into the title and Nyanzi, Kiboneka & Company Advocates on behalf of the church.
It also accrued from a judgement in a suit where the children of Evelyn Nacwa namely; Dan Ssemwanga, John Kajoba, Edward Balunga and Steven Nakibinge had sued the five parties; including Lucy Nsubuga, the wife of former Namirembe Diocesan Bishop Dunstan Nsubuga for ceasing their land and giving it to the Church.
However, court ruled that former Bishop Nsubuga and two others, were entered into the title that was held by the Church fraudulently and hence ordered that the title be cancelled; and the land vested in the estate of Nacwa and that the land title be cancelled.

Court also ordered vacant possession of the land and all defendants to vacate the land.
On July 10, a final order to demolish the church was issued and enforced with permission from Kampala Capital City Authority, with a permit issued by the acting Physical Planner, Mr Ivan Katongole.
“We are gathering here to share the sorrow of Christians here but also to remind you that the Church of Christ stands on an unshakeable foundation, the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“The hands of the believers jointly with the hands of friends and government of Uganda, will restore this church and it will be a more magnificent church than the one that has been here. We, therefore, appeal to people to remain calm,” Bishop Nderebende said.
Many of the bishops, who spoke independently asked government to ensure the church is rebuilt within a record time. They wondered how they could have Christians who are baptised demolishing their own temple of worship.
They also said although almost the entire church was taken down, it was remarkable that the cross remained standing .

Response
Office of the President
The director for ethics and integrity in the office of the President, the Rev Can Aaron Mwesigye, said there was a scheduled meeting between the President and the archbishop to discuss the matter.
“Cabinet will discuss this issue and find ways to rebuild the church. Archbishop has made an appointment to meet president and this will happen very soon,” he said.

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