Church, minister Ecweru make peace after clergy beating

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Soroti Diocese has diffused its anger after meeting with the State Minister for Disaster Preparedness, Musa Ecweru in a closed- door meeting over the assault on church workers.

The meeting held at St. Peter’s Medical Centre in Soroti on Friday attracted three bishops including the Rt. Rev. Kosea Odongo, the bishop of Soroti Diocese and two other retired bishops; Charles Bernard Ebitu Obaikol and Nicodemus Okile Engwalas of Soroti and Bukedi Dioceses respectively.

Capt. Mike Mukula, the NRM National Chairperson for Eastern Uganda, Soroti District Chairperson, Gregory Egunyu, RCC Soroti, Robert Adiama, Amuria District Police Commander and the Resident District Commissioner, all the archdeacons of the diocese and the assaulted clergy were in attendance.

Whereas the main meeting ended around 5:00pm, the mini meeting comprising the bishops, Ecweru, Mukula, Adiama, Egunyu and Mrs. Freda Ocen, the president of mother’s union in Soroti Diocese extended up to around 7:00pm. 

After the meeting, all other members in attendance declined to speak to journalists who were waiting outside the meeting hall. They referred journalists to Bishop Odongo, who in turn said he would speak to journalists on Saturday morning over what transpired.

 But at 10:22pm, Bishop Odongo issued a press statement through his chaplain, Rev. Beseri Otekat on major WhatsApp groups in Teso.  

In the press release signed by all the bishops in attendance, the church has rescinded the earlier utterances against the minister and government.

In the earlier statements released by both Soroti Diocese and the Province of Church of Uganda, the church leaders described minister Ecweru as a tormentor and terrorist.

 “Ugandans deserve public officials who understand their calling as servant leaders, not as entitled terrorists who load it over their constituents”, read the statement issued by the Provincial Secretary, Rev. Can. Capt. William Ongeng.

Bishop Odongo, in his media brief after the incident, also said that the minister had turned into a terrorist following his conduct of beating people indiscriminately.

However, the new press statement claims the issue between the minister and the church workers was exaggerated.

“Church of Uganda Soroti diocese led by the Rt. Rev. Koseas Odongo, and in a meeting … resolved that the slight misunderstanding which had developed between Hon. Musa Ecweru and the clergy of Wera Parish has been resolved amicably and in the spirit of Faith and forgiveness and of which matter had been blown out of proportion”, the statement which has only two paragraphs reads in part.

It continues and concludes with assurance of mending the relationship with the minister. “The Diocese of Soroti C.O.U have agreed to jointly to carry out the development of the Seed Secondary School in Wera and the work will be embarked on as soon as possible for the good of the community and the church”, the statement ends.

During the meeting, our reporter overheard Soroti District Chairperson, Gregory Egunyu emphasizing patience in his submissions.“If the church had exercised some patience, we would have avoided all these things from happening”, Egunyu said.

Information obtained from sources who attended the meeting reveals that the land where the church workers were found planting cassava had pending issues between the church and school where both parties were advised to stay out of the land until the matter resolved.

Ecweru, in the company of his bodyguard, Juma Odiope is reported to have beaten church workers at St. John CoU in Wera Parish for allegedly encroaching onto Wera Seed Secondary School land.

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