By Godfrey Ojore
The embattled priest of Kumi Diocese, the Rev. Charles Oode Okunya, whose election as the second bishop of Kumi Anglican Diocese was revoked by the House of Bishops over forgery of his age, has resigned.
On Monday, April 4, Okunya delivered his resignation letter, which was received by the diocesan secretary, the Rev. Simon Omoding.
Okunya’s election was cancelled in 2019 and he has not been working as a priest, as well as going to his office since then.
He has been the head of education in the diocese.
Okunya’s efforts to seek justice from courts of law hit a snag when his case was dismissed by the High Court in Kampala.
Judge Musa Ssekana dismissed his case with costs, but the church decided to forgive him, so he didn’t pay any costs.
In his 20-page ruling, Ssekana concurred with the House of Bishops decision to revoke Rev. Okunya’s appointment after ascertaining that he had not made the mandatory age requirement of 45 years to be elected a bishop.
“The plaintiff (Okunya) at the time of his nomination was not qualified to be elected a Bishop of Kumi since he had not yet made the mandatory age requirement of 45 years, ” the judge said in his ruling.
The judge noted that when Okunya wanted to stand for election as a bishop, only three days before the election, he swore a statutory declaration to indicate that he made a mistake when he was registering for his national identity card.
“The plaintiff’s life within the Church of Uganda as a clergy was premised on information he availed at the time of joining and this was categorically reflected as November 23, 1975. This fact is not in dispute, but the plaintiff now wishes to alter his date of birth by claiming that the actual date of birth earlier indicated on all his personal documents was a mistake or an error,” the ruling read in part.
“The act of altering the date of birth three days to being nominated as a bishop becomes very suspicious and it is not an innocent act by the plaintiff and I would agree with the defendant’s counsel that it was indeed fraudulent,” the judge ruled.
The ruling further noted that it was also established that Okunya in some of the application forms to Uganda Christian University made some lies like denying having children and yet he had.
Okunya forged his year of birth from 1975 to 1970 to bring himself in the constitutional and canonical age bracket which he had not attained by 2019 when they conducted the election exercise.