KAMPALA — The Church of Uganda Archbishop the Most Rev. Dr. Stephen Samuel Kaziimba has condemned the demolition of St Peter’s church in Ndeeba describing the act as evil and baberic.
The over 49-year old Anglican Church in Ndeeba was demolished after a longstanding land wrangle between the church leadership and a businessman only identified as Dodovico.
High Court judge Mr Eudes Keitirima had last year ruled that the Church of Uganda trustees fraudulently acquired the land where the demolished church sits.
In a statement issued on August 10, Dr. Kazimba noted that they are grateful the person who donated the land as a gift to God is not alive to witness the destruction that has been done to the sacred place.
“This barbaric act of destruction is evil. If an action can’t be done in broad daylight, then there is something deeply wrong; we have lost respect for God,” he noted.
He added that the destruction of the church took place in the darkness of night during a curfew; and, the security forces, who are supposed to uphold the law and guard against destroyers, were allegedly complicit in it’s destruction.
“Squatters have rights after being on land for 12 years, and yet St. Peter’s Church has been on that land for 40 years. We call for a serious and impartial inquiry into this matter,” he said.
According to Dr Kazimba, even amid fhe lockdown, the Gospel of Jesus Christ has not been locked down.
“Likewise, the destruction of St. Peter’s Church, Ndeeba, will not deter the Church from preaching the Gospel. Jesus promised us that the “gates of hell will not prevail against the Church of Jesus Christ.” (Matthew 16.18),” reads an excerpt.
“We stand in solidarity with the Bishop, Namirembe Diocese, and especially the Christians of St. Peter’s Church. Especially during this time of a global pandemic, the church is needed now more than ever. We assure you of our prayers for a peaceful and just resolution to this tragic situation,” said Kazimba.
12 suspects have since been arrested including three senior Police officers and one KCCA director.
Lt Col Edith Nakalema who heads the State House Anti-Corruption Unit, said the President has directed for the prosecution of all those involved in the criminal case.
“The demolition was carried out on the night of August 9 with full knowledge of the DPC Katwe, OC station and all officers under them, contrary to the established procedures and guidelines of the Judiciary, Ministry of Lands and police,” she said.
She added: “We are directed to use full force of the law to cause justice to the believers and the Anglican community.”
Lt Col Nakalema said the suspects will be arraigned in court soon.
“We promise the church that all shall be done to bring the culprits to order,” she added. She revealed that the permanent secretary in the Lands ministry is working on details of the disputed land as investigations continue.