The Chief magistrate’s court in Makindye has remanded to Luzira, Dodovico Mwanje, also known as Dodo, the businessman who masterminded the demolition of St. Peter’s Church in Ndeeba, a Kampala suburb.
Dodo, as he is commonly referred to appeared in the dock alongside Ivan Katongole, a KCCA urban planner who is alleged to have sanctioned the demolition of the church.
The duo appeared before Chief Magistrate, Prossy Katushabe and was charged with conspiracy to commit an offence .
Prosecution alleges that the group, between March and August 2020 conspired with several senior police officers who are currently remanded to Kitalya government prison to demolish St. Peter’s church in Ndeeba which was a property of the Church of Uganda.
The duo however denied the charges.
They are accused of conspiring with senior officers including SP David Epedu, the Katwe DPC, ASP Mugisha Yeko Kato, the officer in charge of Ndeeba Police, SSP Rshid Agero and Martin Adero, the Police Field Force Unit commanders.
The senior police officers separately face charges related to disobeying lawful orders of the Kampala Metropolitan Area Police commander, Moses Kafeero in which he had asked them to oversee security deployment at the church in order to avert any possible demolition.
Other people including a building inspection engineer for Lubaga division, a mechanic and a veteran soldier among others are charged with causing malicious damage to St. Peter’s church and theft of church property such as chairs and doors .
The Kampala Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga recently said the demolition of St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Ndeeba, a Kampala suburb after a land dispute was an attack on Christianity.
“It was not only an act on the church as a building but also on the entire Christian congregation of the Church of Uganda and all believers in God. All of us are affected. Whoever is a believer in God is affected and we all condemn it,”Lwanga said.
Earlier, President Museveni had in equal measures condemned the demolition of the Church but assured Christians that government would construct a new church, as well as ensuring that the disputed land is retained by the church.
The president also condemned judges over the manner they issue orders like the one of demolishing the Church.
“Judges should have limits and understand public interest. Demolishing a church is a curse. Also, ignore reports of those claiming the government demolished the church,”Museveni said.
Museveni also pledged to invite the Namirembe Diocese Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira, and engage with all parties involved in this conflict to find a lasting solution.
“I am saddened by this incident and I give the church assurances that those complicit will be punished. Even if the church was in the wrong, ordering demolition was extreme. Dialogue would have resolved this matter.”