KUMI – Speaker of Parliament Anita Among has mediated a religious conflict that had since 2019 inflamed tensions in a section of the Teso sub-region.
The conflict had for a long time pitted Christians of the Church of Uganda Kumi Diocese led by Rt Rev Okwii Esakhan against those of the Reform Anglican Church led by Rt Rev Charles Okunya, Upper Nile Diocese in the districts of Kumi, Bukedea, and Ngora, prompting the Speaker to convene a meeting between the rival leaders with the view of reaching an agreeable solution.
While chairing the meeting, Among urged both Rt Rev Okwii and Rt Rev Okunya to embrace dialogue and end the violence that has already injured a number of people as well as causing insecurity in the three districts of Kumi, Bukedea, and Ngora.
The conflict started after Reformed Anglican Church broke away from the Church of Uganda last year following the cancellation of Rev Okunya’s election as the second Bishop of Kumi Diocese in 2019 and the subsequent consecration of Rev Okwii in March last year.
The House of Bishops had on November 19, 2019 elected Rev Okunya, but Christians petitioned the electorate, alleging that the Bishop-elect had falsified his age and engaged in an extra-marital affair.
He was subsequently replaced with Rev Okwi, which angered a section of Christians, resulting in sporadic episodes of violence in which a number of Christians have been injured while others lost property.
The two bishops; Rev Okwii and Rev Okunya have however now agreed to reconcile and forge a way forward.
The meeting was attended by the deputy inspector general of Police, Maj Gen Katsigazi Tumusiime, who commended Among for volunteering to mediate between the two parties.
Tumusiime warned the religious leaders against continuing with the violence, failure of which will lead to arrests.