Plight of the EOTC Church in Kampala (Uganda) By Robele Ababya
I write in full support of the outstanding article titled “The London Debretsion Church” written by Yilma Bekele. His enlightening article has touched me to the depth of my soul having experienced a series of obnoxious acts of rudeness displayed at the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christian (EOTC) Kampala Mekane Selam Medhanealem Church in Uganda - similar to the one that has sadly transpired at the London Debretsion Church, seen on the Video attached to the above said article dated 27 February 2013.
The article by Ato Yilma articulates the abyss into which our invaluable asset of civility and decorum has sunk since the outbreak of the Ethiopian revolution in 1974 at the same time shaming us the majority for failure to respond effectively and timeously while the image of our country is being routinely eroded.
The striking similarity of the repugnant scenes at the two Churches begs providing the following information to esteemed fellow citizens so that they can appreciate that the ongoing disruptions at the EOTC churches around the world are centrally planned to destroy the influence of the Orthodox Tewahedo faith and the Amhara people as admitted by Sebhat Nega – the founder and patriarch of the MLLT later renamed TPLF.
I thought that the information below witnessed or gathered in person during my frequent visits to Kampala would help in formulating coordinated action in self-defense by all concerned.
The EOTC Kampala Mekane Selam Medhanealem Church in Uganda
The Church in caption was officially inaugurated in 2000 in the presence of the Mayor of Kampala as Guest of Honor, His Holiness Archbishop Melketsedeke in His capacity as the Secretary General of the Holy Synod in Exile, His Holiness Archbishop Elias in His capacity as the Archbishop for Europe and East Africa Dioceses, Metropolitan Luwanga in His capacity as Archbishop of the Uganda Orthodox Church, dignitaries, invited guests, and Ethiopians most of them genuine political refugee victims of hot pursuit by the TPLF, distinct from the new ones that are overwhelmingly state-sponsored imposters.
The fund for purchasing land on which the Church was built and buildings were erected was raised in 1997 by Ethiopians; it included contributions from friends of Ethiopia. The Church has its Constitution based on the Dogma and canon of the EOTC.
The Constitution was approved by Archbishop Elias and registered with the government of Uganda, which has been a hospitable home for Ethiopians living in Uganda.
Archbishop Elias came all the way from Sweden and blessed the Church land, laid down the foundation stone and brought the Ark and held the first Mas pending official inauguration. Metropolitan Luwanga visited the sight several times and gave His blessings and unforgettable support at times of critical need .including facilitating entry of Archbishop to Uganda. Most of His entire predecessor Metropolitan Theodore will be eternally remembered for initiating the project and constructively criticizing the EOTC for not spreading its wings across Africa and draw believers to its fold.
So far so good. The future pregnant with intrigues, self-interests, hatred, began to show gradually and increasingly getting worse. The first climax made its debut in the aftermath of the first election of the Church Executive Committee according to the Constitution. Those badly defeated at the polls took their case to the High Court of Uganda in grave violation of the Church Constitution which according to its Article 29 it is the Archbishop in whom the final authority is vested in settling all church-related internal disputes. The plaintiffs breached 1st Corinthians 6:1-8 by engaging in a lengthy and costly suit, which they lost.
It would be appropriate at this juncture to mention that it was the above plaintiffs that warned the Archbishop that He would be pelted with rotten eggs, tomatoes and stones on His arrival in Uganda. Nevertheless, His Holiness ignored the warning stressing that an evangelist should not be afraid of death in discharging his missionary duties. His Holiness came to Uganda in September 1999 from his abode in Sweden and led mass within the unfinished Church building and blessed the congregation.
The second shocking climax of shame reared its ugly head at a meeting held on 27 June 2011. A large and well-rehearsed group, not registered with the Church, hijacked the meeting. They dictated their demand to dethrone the Executive Committee right away and replace it with what the group called “Ad hoc Committee” contrary to the law and normally understood function of an ad hoc committee. These new-comers as ‘political’ refugees’ began to hurl insults at veteran members of the Church that participated in the development of the Church project by making generous contributions financially and in kind unconditionally with no selfish motives other than pray. Most of the trouble-makers have not contributed a cent.
The leader of the rowdy group bloated by the whistling, ululation, foot-thumbing, table-beating and clapping of his supporters took to the floor and arrogantly but falsely stated that as founder of the Church he intends to ‘tell’ the government of Uganda and place the management of the Church under a new administration. He said that he is free to do so by removing the Archbishop Aba Elias from leadership through the vote of his crowd. But the truth is that neither this big liar nor his unruly supporters were in Uganda at the time of the commencement of the Church project in 1996. He had no shame when he was told this bitter truth.
Prepare for another shock. It was on a Sunday morning during Church service. The Church was fully packed. All of a sudden without invitation of the Priest from the pulpit in accordance with standing procedure, the members of the Choir took to the floor and began singing and abruptly took off their uniforms, laid down the drum and other musical instruments and staged a walk out holding their uniforms in their hands – to the surprise of the large congregation. They treated the Holy ground like a factory floor from where workers laying down their tools and leave to express grievance(s). This repugnant act of rudeness by some bully members of the Choir has been continuing for over a year in various forms up to now. Any effort by the Church including reporting them to law enforcement officers to stop the unholy act did not succeed.
As if adding salt to wound, the leader of the rowdy hooligans filed a civil suit No. 15/2012 with the Uganda High Court in January 2012 pleading injunction to stop outright the functioning of the lawfully elected Executive Committee Church. The Honorable Judge of the High Court refused to grant the injunction. And the suit is pending resolution.
The lawless villains forced cancellation of the General Assembly meeting called by the Executive Committee of the Church. For, the Police Commissioner of the district in which the Church is located advised the Executive Committee to cancel the General Assembly (GA) meeting at the last minute on 17 December 2011 citing information he had received to the effect that an organized force will disrupt the GA meeting scheduled for 18 December 2011.
Prepare for another shock. The renowned Evangelist Dr. Andualem Gobena arrived from the United States of America, gratefully at his own expense, in Kampala at the invitation of the Church to conduct Bible Conference. The leader of the rowdy group sent a detachment with instruction to threaten the Evangelist to abort his mission, but the indomitable Evangelist refused admonishing the messenger that nothing will prevent him from spreading the word of God. The one-week Conference ended peacefully with enthusiastic mammoth congregation unseen in the history of the Church in attendance. The elated crowd unanimously requested that the Conference of this kind be held regularly, at least twice a year and pledged to foot the expenses.
The same shameful act of thuggish behavior was repeated to disrupt the mission of a second Conference that was slated to be conducted by the renowned Dr. Aba Gebreselassie who came all the way from the USA at his own cost. The villains did not succeed and the Conference was concluded was epic success.
The desperate thugs are still continuing with their disruption of Church services while the suit filed with the High Court by their leader is sub judice.
The leader of the thugs, belatedly sensing that his supporters are abandoning him in droves and that he will lose in the unsubstantiated plaint, has sent ‘mediators’ to the Executive Committee of the Church to settle the matter out of court through reconciliation. The EC has rejected the mediation.
What is strange is that among the late-comer ‘mediators’ are designated representatives of opposition political entities in the Diaspora. I do not think that their employers know about this.
The land title on which the Church is built and all original documents related to the implementation of the project thereof have been submitted to His Holiness Archbishop Abune Elias in His capacity as Trustee and Supreme Head of the Church administration as stipulated in Article-6 and His indisputable authority in resolving all Church-related internal disputes among the registered members of the congregation in accordance with Article-29 of the Constitution of the Church in question.
More than 30 Ethiopians most of them refugees have been buried within the Church premises at a site set aside as a sacred ground.
In my opinion there are no other EOTC churches in the Diaspora that have suffered the same degree of ordeals as those of the Kampala Mekaneselam Medhanealem and the London Debretsion churches.
It is my ardent hope and fervent prayer that the Church congregation will reaffirm their exemplary support for the legitimate EOTC Holy Synod in Exile knowing that the founder of the Kampala Mekaneselam Medhanealem Church and its sole owner is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Release all political prisoners in Ethiopia including Andualem Aragie, Eskinder Nega, Bekele Gerba, Reeyot Alemu, Leaders of the Ethiopian Muslims et al!
LONG LIVE ETHIOPIA!!!