An Anglican priest has been suspended for alleged involvement in the illegal sale of St Andrews Church land in Kiteezi in Gayaza, Wakiso district. Rev Semei Sebina Sekiziyivu, the parish priest of St Andrews Church was suspended from conducting priestly duties pending investigations into accusations of illegal sale of church land. He was replaced by retired Rev Eriya Kawooya.
Writing on behalf of the Namirembe Diocese, Bishop Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira, the diocese secretary Rev Canon Henry Segawa announced the priest’s suspension.
“It has come to our knowledge that how you have handled church land issues did not follow the procedures of the church. You are hereby directed to step aside in matters of the parish ad land until you are recalled,” reads part of the letter dated September 3.
Rev Sekiziyivu's suspension followed complaints by Christians questioning how he handled and allowed the takeover of church land without due regard to the processes and procedures of the church.
Sekiziyivu was suspended together with the archdeacon of Gayaza, Rev Herbert Nyanzi Kabanda who was his immediate supervisor.
The head of laity St. Andrews Church Julius Buwembo says that Sekiziyivu fronted various people to grab the church land in the guise of development.
The land which measures 2 acres is located at Bamba village. It is alleged that Sekiziyivu directed the destruction of an avocado and coffee plantation to establish a new church in an area less than a mile away from St Andrews Church.
Buwembo also alleged that Sekiziyivu allowed Mary Namuddu to access and develop part of the land without the consent of the church leadership.
While claiming to have acquired the lease through the Namrembe Diocese, Namuddu has been working closely with Sekiziyivu who called in the police at the time when other church members protested.
“While using forged documents, Rev. Sekiziyivu, granted a lease to Namuddu and he has been using force on all land matters. At Kayanga village, we have 50 acres but with squatters and what he did, on the remaining space, he brought people on it,” said Buwembo.
According to Buwembo, the church at Kiteezi is on the verge of losing its compound due to the actions of Sekiziyivu. Rev Segawa commended the leadership of the diocese for the courage and sacrifice to save the church land.
Bishop Luwalira said that the church will investigate the complaints and come up with a report and recommendations.