KINKIZI – A group of Christians have petitioned outgoing Church of Uganda Archbishop Stanley Ntagali, calling for the defrocking of Kinkizi Diocese Bishop Dan Zoreka whom they accuse of, among others, running down the diocese through alleged embezzlement of church funds, favouritism, adultery and lack of requisite academic qualifications.
In two separate petitions dated November 28, 2019 and December 2, 2019, the Christians through John Bindeba from Rugyeyo Archdeaconry say Bishop Dan Zoreka, who was enthroned in 2010, has destroyed the church’s image in the diocese through mismanaging of church funds, lack of accountability and stifling development.
“I have information that the Clergy have spent 5.6 months without being paid their salaries and the Clergy used to be paid from their respective parishes and their salaries were regularly paid. However, the Bishop, the Diocesan Secretary and the Treasurer came up with a policy that all money collected should be taken to the treasurer and when they go to the said Treasurer, they are abused and harassed,” the petition reads in part.
Bishop Zoreka is close to Amama Mbabazi and during the 2016 elections, he vehemently defended the former Prime Minister’s decision to stand against President Museveni. The Christians’ petition to the Archbishop is also copied to Mbabazi.
The Christians claim that Bishop Zoreka, while working with Rev Kenneth Kanyankore, his diocesan secretary, and he Treasurer have embezzled UGX2 billion, which the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) paid to the church as compensation for encroaching on the church land while constructing a road.
“Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) is constructing a road which affected the Church land. Respective schools were compensated and the total sum is about 2 billion. However, the Bishop, the Diocesan Secretary and the Diocesan Treasurer resolved that the respective schools and or churches should surrender 50% of the compensation which we have considered as unfair and yet this compensation has not been accounted for and there are no efforts to account as such,” the petition says.
“In fact the Clergy and Synod members were shocked when the Bishop failed to mention the said compensation in his charge. The three office-bearers mentioned above indicated that there was a percentage which was supposed to be sent to the province which was never sent and the faithful are concerned,” he adds.
The petitioner claims that the Bishop, the Diocesan Secretary, Treasurer have used the money from UNRA compensation to put up their personal multi-billion structures.
“I have also landed on photographs of the Bishops multibillion mansion which is estimated at 3 billion Ugx and another mansion belonging to the Diocesan Secretary which is estimated at 1 billion Ugx and photographs of these mansions are attached on this letter and labeled 2 and 3 respectively. I have information that there is a relationship between the Bishop’s wife and the Diocesan Secretary and I have been given photos some of which I have attached to this letter showing the scandalous conduct of the Diocesan Secretary,” the petition reads in part.
The Christians further allege that the Bishop is superintending over shoddy work on several church projects and mismanaging funds.
“I will also inform you about the Boys Dormitory of Kinkizi High School where the contractor did shoddy work and the building is on the verge of collapsing and the Bishop is insisting that the contractor should be paid. This is the building where King Ceaser Mulenga contributed Shs.76,000,000/=(Seventy Six Million,” the petition reads in part.
“A groups of Bishops quietly secured a loan of Shs.250,000,000,(Two Hundred Fifty Million shillings) from Post Bank and they claimed it was for Processing titles for the churches in the Diocese but it is now two Years and the titles have never come out and no explanation has ever been availed,” the petition adds.
“The Bishop and the two mentioned officials on behalf of the church bought land at Bugongo. The seller had offered it at Ugx. 40 million before negotiations, however, the three purchased it at an inflated price of Ugx.100 million and benefited from the additional Ugx.60 Million,” the petition adds.
The Christians also claim that the Bishop has failed to undertake development projects in the diocese due to corruption.
“Ngoto Complex where the Diocesan Secretary and the Treasurer deceived Christians that they were going to construct a five-storied building for a hotel. They began collecting money from Christians and other well-wishers without approved building plans and building quantities. On the day of the launch they only downloaded a photo from the computer intended to deceive the public. Uganda Shillings 138 million was raised on that day.
However, to date no activity is taking place at the site and no accountability has been made. The only activity going on is on the private construction sites of all the three.”
“The Bishop frustrated the Government’s plan to establish a college of Mbarara University of Science and Tecnology. The plans were underway and top management of the University. Nyarnwegabira the proposed site they agreed to implement the government’s plan and the whole aim was for skilling the youth. However due to the Bishops open hostility and opposition to the government, he deliberately frustrated the project and by now the people of Kanungu would be having the said college,” the petition reads in part.
The petition adds that Bishop Zoreka falsely represented himself and continues to represent himself as a professional teacher of Grade 11 Certificate from St. Augustine Butiti TTC.
“However I have information that he never completed or passed the course and does not have a certificate issued by the National Institute of Education of Makerere University the then issuing Authority or Body. He does not have a Certificate of Registration as a grade 11 teacher issued by the Ministry of Education and sports. All these explain the management problems that the Diocese is going through,” the petition says.
The Christians also claim that Bishop Zoreka Bishop impregnated his former house girl, which has destroyed the image of the church.
“We have information that the Bishop impregnated his former house girl and has failed on Child support and the girl would like to express her displeasure and to have DNA conducted as the Bishop is denying her Child Parental care which has given a very bad image to the Diocese. We have talked to the girl and she says it happened before Rev. Zoreka Dan became a bishop and with all due respect he ought not to have become a Bishop given his moral conduct,” the petition adds.
The Christians claim that there are so many things that are not going on well in the diocese.
“For example, the Bishop’s wife supplies firewood to Kinkizi High School and Nyakabungo, the Diocesan Treasurer supplies Uniforms and they are promptly paid yet so many staff/Clergy have not been paid for Months which is demotivating and frustrating. Even when the Bishop, The Diocesan Secretary, Treasurer and the Education Coordinator are benefitting from supply of services and foods or items to the Church of Uganda Schools in the Diocese, they consider them to be substandard for their children. They have vowed that their children will never study from such substandard schools as the Bishop cannot even send his Children to Nyakatare primary School where his wife teaches,” the petition adds.
The Christians want the Archbishop to institute a committee to investigate the appointment of office bearers, do underground checks and find the background of the matter that has reported at Kihihi Police Station, which has reached Kampala CID headquarters and give some elders an appointment at its earliest to come and address you about matters concerning the Diocese.
“Invite the Bishop and put him to task to explain why they have ganged up against some Clergy in the Diocese, why he appoint. Rev. Benon Nkwasibwe yet he is a P.4 drop out to a position that needs relevant academic Qualifications. d) Defrock the Bishop and ask him to apologize to the people of the Diocese for impersonating and going through the channels until he became a Bishop, with false names, papers etc, in fact, we have learnt that his true names are Dan Mugisha,” the petition adds.
Divisions in Kinkizi Diocese are not new. In 2010, a cross-section of Christians in the diocese contested nomination of Rev. Can. Bernard Bagaba by the House of Bishops, forcing the latter to appointed Bishop Zoreka. The aggrieved Christians under the Concern Fellowship organisation, contended that the Rev. Bagaba had been unconstitutionally elected. Led by former Kinkizi East MP Hamlet Kabushenga, they claimed that the Rev. Bagaba’s election was conducted by a nomination committee instead of an electoral college.
They also raised allegations that the Rev. Bagaba who had served as the diocesan secretary is not fit to head the diocese because he fathered children out of wedlock which is against the Anglican values.