By John Ogulei
The rift between the Anglican Church of Uganda Soroti Diocese with the State Minister for Disaster preparedness is not about to end.
On Saturday 08th July 2021, the state minister for Disaster preparedness Musa Francis Ecweru is alleged to have assaulted a priest and two lay readers over land dispute.
The assaulted priest was Rev. Simon Olato and the lay readers were Simon Peter Eriku and Benjamin Otasono who were assaulted by Minister Ecweru and his body guard only identified as Odiope in what has come to be known as a land dispute.
In a statement that has been circulated to all media houses, the Bishop of Soroti Anglican Diocese, Rt. Rev. Capt. Kosea Odongo said that the diocese is committed to solving this matter peacefully and through legal means without recourse to violence.
“The diocese condemns the use of violence for resolving land disputes or any form of disagreements. In regards to the dispute in Wera Parish; the church has no dispute with neighbors, the local government or the seed secondary school. In any case if any dispute is raised by any individual or group of individuals; the church will resort to the Bible principles and teachings and will also uphold the rule of law in resolving the matter,” said Bishop Odongo in a statement.
He added that, “The Wera incident involved a vicious, violent and embarrassing assault on three church workers. They have already received treatment from the Diocesan Health Centre. They are now in fair health and have returned home to resume their duties. They will return at an appropriate time for review.”
“Wera Parish is called upon to continue offering pastoral duties to the parishioners normally. We charge Arch Deacon, Parish Priest and Lay Readers and Parish Council to keep calm and to encourage the parishioners to remain calm as the matter is being handled. I appreciate the concerns of the general public and urge restraint in not escalating this matter out of proportions,” he added.
He has also called upon all the Christians and the public to understand that any official communication can only be handled through the office of the Bishop.
On the other hand, the Bishop has asked the public to stop escalating the matter.
“Let matters of the Church Be handled by the Church,” He said.
In his Monday’s address in a local radio, Minister Ecweru confessed having beaten the clergymen noting that he could not allow the men of God to encroach on the land that wasn’t theirs.
Recently, Mike Mukula, the National Vice Chairperson for the Ruling NRM party in Eastern Uganda intervened into the matter and instituted a committee of Bishops consisting of Retired Bishops and a team of Teso Elders to solve the impulse.
According to Mukula, the matter needs to be handled between the people of Teso without escalating it.