West Ankole dispute goes to High Court

Archbishop Ntagali asks senior high court judge to dissolve injunction preventing the Church of Uganda from selecting new bishop

Attorneys for the Primate of the Church of Uganda, the Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, have petitioned the High Court in Kampala to dismiss an injunction handed down by a lower court judge, restraining the Church of Uganda from creating a nominating committee to select candidates for Bishop of West Ankole. On 17 Oct 2016 Archbishop Ntagali’s petition was filed with Principal Judge Yorokamu Bamwine (pictured left) asking him to intervene in a case brought by eleven clergymen from the diocese. On 13 Oct 2016 Justice Lydia Mugambe of the High Court stopped the inauguration of the Archbishop’s Commissary, which he had appointed to oversee the diocese and the election process for the new bishop. The judge said the inauguration of the commissary be stayed until otherwise directed by the court and that the diocesan secretary, Rev Arthur Atwine, in the interim should take charge of the diocese. The archbishop’s petition stated: “We are greatly surprised that the court could appoint an individual to run the affairs of a diocese hence creating a constitutional disorder in an established institution. A diocesan secretary has no episcopal authority over a diocese. Rev Canon Atwine is not a consecrated bishop. We are astounded as to whether the Rev Arthur Atwine is an officer of the court or that of the church and whether it is in order for courts of law to confer Episcopal authority through the issuance of interim orders as was done in this case.” Earlier this month eleven clergymen filed a petition asking the High Court to block the archbishop’s committee. They claimed the archbishop had usurped authority belonging to the diocese in selecting the committee to select candidates for bishop. However, the Ugandan House of Bishops directed Archbishop Ntagali to intervene, as permitted under canon law, after the out-going bishop was found to have unduly influenced the local committee proceedings. The case continues.


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