Eleven clergy have brought a lawsuit against Archbishop Ntagali had violated church canons and slandered the leaders of the diocese when he appointed his own commission to select candidates to replace the outgoing Bishop of West Ankole.
Eleven clergy of the Diocese of West Ankole have brought a lawsuit in the Kampala High Court against the Primate of the Church of Uganda, alleging the Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali had violated church canons and slandered the leaders of the diocese when he appointed his own commission to select candidates to replace the Rt. Rev. Yona Katoneene. The lawsuit alleges that when Archbishop Ntagali created an eight-member committee on 2 Oct 2015 to oversee the selection process, he usurped the authority of the local committee, violated canon law and slandered West Ankole was a “failed” diocese. In September Archbishop Ntagali took the unprecedented step of rebuking publicly Bishop Katoneene. He asked the diocesan secretary to take a message to his bishop, telling him to “repent and stop manipulating church business, starting now.” Archbishop Ntagali and the Ugandan House of Bishops also suspended a special meeting of the diocesan synod called by Bishop Katoneene to oversee the election of his supervisor. “If there is manipulation of the selection of councils and synod representatives already, I curse it in the name of Jesus. I am going to consult my office and send observers in the areas where such confusion has started because it is taking us back to the days of darkness,” said Archbishop Ntagali. The House of Bishops gave the diocese two weeks to elect a new church council and synod representatives in conformance with canon law. When Bishop Katoneene retired on 2 Oct 2016 without honouring this request, Archbishop Ntagali appointed a committee to oversee the electoral process. This prompted the eleven clergy led by Canon Christopher Kisembo to file suit seeking a court order dissolving the archbishop’s committee and permitting the committee formed by Bishop Katoneene to go forward with the selection process. Speaking to reporters on 11 Oct 2016, the archbishop said he would file a response in conformance with civil law. However, he noted: “I am the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, I don’t work alone. I work with the House of Bishops and the canons following the constitution which mandates the archbishop to oversee a diocese which is vacant.”