ONE, ONE WITH ARCHBISHOP NTAGALI: PEACE MUST RETURN TO WEST ANKOLE DIOCESE
The archbishop of the church of Uganda his grace Stanly Ntagali doubles as the bishop of west Ankole diocese after the retirement of Bishop Yona Katoneene on Oct. 02, 2016. Retired Bishop Katoneene left a very divided diocese and never left a successor. After the archbishop took over Episcopal jurisdiction on Oct. 03, 2016, he was taken to high court by aggrieved eleven canons and Christians. This temporally stopped him from exercising his powers over the diocese. But on Nov. 08, 2016, the case before Lydia Mugambe was dismissed without costs and the archbishop retained his powers over the diocese. On Nov. 9—11, 2016 visited Sheema district and on Nov. 14—15, 2016 held meetings at the diocese headquarters Bweranyangi.
www.mknewslink.com managing editor WILBER MUHWEZI-KASIBANTE interviewed the archbishop for 30 minutes at Western Meridian Hotel Tuesday Nov. 15, 2016 on the future of west Ankole diocese, why the canons and other Christians perceive him as siding with Sheema, The work of commissaries, When will West ankole diocese get its own Bishop and reconciliation with canons that took him to court. Below are the excerpts.
QN: Congratulations upon winning the court case and retaining Episcopal jurisdiction over west Ankole diocese!
ANS: Thank you, glory be to God. It happened so because prayers from Christians throughout the country.
QN: You have conducted two different visits to the diocese since Nov. 09, 2016, how do you find the diocese?
ANS: My two visits have been successful. The first one in Sheema, I confirmed into Christianity thousands of young people. I also presided over graduation ceremony of Ankole Western University as its current chancellor.
The second visit Nov. 14-15, I have held two crucial meetings with diocesan staff based at the diocese headquarters and still I also met all the archdeaconries from the diocese.
QN: The canons and the some Christians say that after winning the case you remained angry?
ANS: I am not angry at all. Am a forgiving archbishop and I believe a lot in reconciliation. You know even I forgave the 11 canons and Christians.
QN: You have told Christians in the diocese that you forgave the eleven canons and Christians who took you to court, when are you meeting with them?
ANS: Any time, I will meet them and you remember I have told you that I believe in reconciliation. For your information, I even met them at Namirembe Kampala during the time when the case was ongoing. Therefore I will meet them again.
QN: The canons and other Christians in Igara accuse of siding with the people of sheema in whatever decision you have taken?
ANS: No, that is not true. Because at one time the Christians in Sheema were saying I was siding with those in Igara. But now it’s a reverse. People are like that.
QN: Why did you visit Sheema without first stepping a foot at the headquarters of the diocese-Bweranyangi?
ANS: I did so because I knew that I would come back to Bweranyangi within a short time less than a week I have fulfilled it. I was in office at Bweranyangi on Nov. 14 and 15, 2016.
QN: How will the 8 commissaries you have appointed work?
ANS: I want to inform every one in west Ankole diocese and outside that the work of the commissaries is simply advisory. They are to advise me on how to run the diocese in this short time when there is no Bishop for west Ankole.
QN: Some commissaries double as Electoral College members,[A 15 member committee to elect next Bishop for west Ankole] will they not exercise conflict of interest?
ANS: The four commissaries who double as electoral college members have been made to remain on electoral college only and I will remain with only fourcommissaries.
QN: Due to the conflicts in west Ankole diocese, is it allowed to get a bishop outside the diocese?
ANS: That one will be the work of the Electoral College to decide. The senile is if a bishop comes from Sheema, the Igara people may not accept him and vice versa. So let’s leave it with Electoral College.
QN: How did you feel during court trial when a group of Christians led by the head of laity Prof. Emmanuel Karooro and Misharch Niwabiine Bakarukayo went against the canons and offered to be your witnesses in court?
ANS: I was very much energized. They wrote me a letter to that effect and it was good.
QN: I have reports that some senior staff at the diocese; Rev. Canon Nobert Tibikoma the dean of the Bweranyangi cathedral and Rev. Canon Arthur Atwiine the diocesan secretary and others were working with canons during the court case to bring you down, Have you heard about it?
ANS: I heard about it and went ahead and asked them but they denied it.
QN: When will west Ankole diocese get its Bishop?
ANS: The diocese will get its new bishop around April 2017. The electoral college was set up by west Ankole diocese synod in sept 2016 so by the end of March 2017 they should have come up with the two names. There after the two names will be forwarded to the house of Bishops and then a bishop is elected.
QN: What is your last word?
ANS: I call upon the Christians in west Ankole diocese to be calm as they wait for the new bishop to be elected. Pray for the diocese and reconcile with whoever wronged you during the time of the conflict.