Amuru Legislators Fight In Church

Kilak South MP Gilbert Olanya

There was drama at All Saints Church-Olwal in Lamogi Sub-county, Amuru district on Sunday after two Members of Parliament engaged in a heated verbal exchange before hundreds of worshipers.

Mr Gilbert Olanya, the Kilak South Legislator and William Wilson Nokrach, representing persons with disability in northern Uganda reportedly had a heated verbal exchange for close to half an hour, accusing each other of interfering in their political projects.

The two legislators were attending mass presided by the Northern Uganda Diocese Bishop, Rev Johnson Gakumba who was installing Rev Peter Oyat as the new overseer of All Saints Church-Olwal.

The church was built with financial assistance from Mr Nokrach and was commissioned by President Museveni in May last year.

There are unconfirmed reports that Nokrach could be eyeing Olanya’s Kilak South seat.

All went during service, according to sources, until the outgoing overseer of the church, Rev James Lukiro reportedly told the congregation that an evil spirit had invaded the church inform of a tortoise which he claimed was haunting children in the area.

Sources said, Rev Lukiro further added that after praying for the possessed children, they[children] revealed that the person who had built the church had brought it [evil spirit] onto them.

Continuing on, Lukiro claimed Nokrach had too much influence and authority over church activities and All Saints Nursery and primary School due to his monetary contributions in constructing the facilities, leaving the church with little powers.

More salt was added to injury when Mr Olanya was given an opportunity to greet worshippers and instead accused Mr Nokrach of blocking his donations of 70 school uniforms which he had bought for pupils at the nursery school.

Mr Nokrach who rose up and counter accused Mr Olanya of allegedly swindling Shs 1 million handed to him by the former Gulu Municipality MP Christopher Acire to help him [Nokrach] build another church in the district.

It is reported that at this stage Olanya sprung up and made a bee line for Nokrach while asking him[Nokrach] to speak to Mr Acire on phone and get clarity whether the said 1-million-shilling money was handed to him.

Mr James Onen, a resident of Olwal trading center told Acholi Times in a telephone interview Monday that Mr Nokrach pushed Olanya with his crutch before Bishop Gakumba intervened to stop the verbal exchange from escalating into a physical fight.

“The situation was very ugly,’’ said Mr Onen. ‘‘We could not believe that our leaders could fight in church before their electorates.’’

When contacted, Mr Olanya said he had no ill motive against Nokrach but was only trying to give explanation on the allegation that he[Olanya] had swindled one million shilling.

“I didn’t fight as it is alleged. We had verbal argument and Nokrach over reacted,” Olanya said.

Mr Nokrach however claimed Olanya had incited the outgoing church overseer of All Saints Church to attack him.

“When I rose up to also speak to counter his allegation, Olanya approached me and wanted to grab the microphone from me. I was almost falling down given my status [ he is disabled] so in self-defense, I pushed him away with my crutch,” Nokrach explained.

No more speaking in Church for politicians

Speaking to this website, Rev Gakumba said the verbal exchange between the two legislators that nearly escalated into a physical fight was due to political differences.

Bishop Gakumba noted that he will hold a dialogue with the two leaders to ensure they don’t repeat what happened and learn to live in harmony.

He however said from the incident, the church will ban any leader from speaking in church since some of them use it as an opportunity to declare their political ambition given 2021, when the country again goes to the polls, is nearing.

Bishop Gakumba accused the outgoing overseer of the church, Rev Lukiro for incitement saying the Rev made the remarks purposely since he[Lukiro] had been transferred due to what he termed as the Rev’s bad leadership.