By Mike Ssegawa
Almost every year there is a scandal or crisis among the Christian revival pastors in Uganda. Controversy keeps courting these churches for whatever reasons.
One of the people now and again in the eye of the storm is Samuel Kakande, who hundreds of followers call their prophet.
Prophet Kakande has been fodder for gossip again, throwing his name in the mud alongside Augustine Yiga, Elvis Mbonye and Brother Ronnie Makabai of ETM.
Kakande is one of the preachers under public scrutiny for accusations of a number of things including faking testimonies, land grabbing, conning his followers, using witchcraft and powers of darkness, you name it.
It is not the first time Pastor Kakande, one of the most established revival preachers has come under the microscope. And he seems to have mastered the art of ignoring his critics. Somehow every time, he is under attack, he uses silence to shake off the dust and move on.
Not long ago, it looked like his critics had run out of excuses. They brought another allegation that he sells at exorbitant prices the ordinary rice grown at his farms in the name of “holy rice”!
The accusations against Kakande however are not new.
What is new however is that his fellow pastors have ganged up to make their churches a platform to accuse Kakande of more ungodly things.
The pastors association, has disassociated themselves from not only Kakande but also Elvis Mbonye, a young pastor with a big following, Augustine Yiga, another pastor based in Kawaala and also Bro. Ronnie Makabai who is said to be a close associate to Pastor Kakande.
You can also argue that there is common denominator in the torrent of attacks among pastors in Uganda. The attacked is either the person with the biggest following, or, showing in their lifestyles they are reaping big from their ministry.
This was the case with Pastor Imelda Namutebi of Liberty Worship Centre. There was a time she was accused of turning into an animal! That was the time she was building her church complex and was cruising around cars with personalized number plates. There was also a case of true fakeness in the names William Muwanguzi aka Kiwedde who has been proven by time he was a fake one indeed.
In Kakande’s case, there is a line of contradictions that I would like to point out.
First a disclaimer; I am not yet a member of any Pentecostal church, neither do I know Pastor Kakande in pastor save for the reports I read about him from the press and social media.
For a very long time Kakande has been a subject of accusation going as far as he has powers drawn from West African powerful spiritualists.
The line has been used to scare people who don’t want to be strongly associated with spiritualism save for relief from their little life’s challenges. These people attend church not because they are convinced of their spiritual journey but because they are taking shelter temporarily from stresses of life such as joblessness, relationships, visas, etc.
They also part with their monies easily since they want to pay for an immediate problem. And those challenges always come and go. When it turns out the problem is no longer in their way, they leave church and live their lives like before. When they face another challenge, they go back to pastor who they see as a medium of sorts to solve their problems again. I sure their belief in the pastor makes them overcome their problem. It might have no connection with the divine.
This category of people is dangerous because the pastor is an idol. If the idol doesn’t help them overcome their problem, they move to another powerful idol, castigating the later as a useless one!
Good preachers will tell you faith is a relationship with the divine which does not guarantee one relief from their daily challenges. For that matter, Abraham, Joseph, Job, David, Mary, Jesus, Paul, Peter, etc all had serious physical challenges but stayed the course.
Back to Kakande. It has been said he was initiated into the underworld by a late Ghanaian preacher John Obiri Yeboah. There are other pastors who said they are inspired by the spirit of the late Pastor Deo Balabyekkubo, one of the fathers of the Christian revival movement in Uganda who was said to have had powers also from West Africa.
Those pastors said to have West African spiritual powers or seen as mediums of the powerful dead people such as T. L Osborn, the narrative helps draw crowds to their churches.
Ugandans, with their idolatry mindset showing strong traditional beliefs in them are adoring of diviners from West Africa and Tanzania. And they believe anyone, who tells them they have spirits from these parts of the world are powerful.
Despite allegations, Kakande’s following has become bigger. People have continued to flock to Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) praying for miracles. Kakande on his part, has never bragged about his underworld powers.
Those who said Kakande was milking his followers he has over the years disapproved by going into agriculture. The pastor has one of the biggest farms in Uganda, using the most modern farming techniques.
The farms export overseas and a fraction of his produce makes its way to his church and his followers adoringly buy them.
Kakande’s success in the agriculture sector should have been something to celebrate if his critics had a game on them. Instead of people taking the message of hard work exemplified by the pastor’s success on the farm, stories of holy rice have instead flooded the newsstands.
The best way to explain this bias is the defeatist mindset that keeps many people poor and backward in this country. This mindset doesn’t allow people to ask questions beyond the obvious.
‘Holy rice’ does not grow in the sky. And if it is ordinary rice, what stops from the poor and elite of this country from growing it to reduce the food insecurity in this country?
Instead of learning from Kakande, talking heads do what small people do. Talk. Manufacture new long tales. Justify their lack of ingenuity. Blame others for their ineptitude.
Instead of organizing themselves to do what Kakande is showing them by example, the stories are recycled or twisted. From his farm successes, Kakande can live without his church. From the success of his church, Kakande can also do well without the farms and other businesses. In doing both, Kakande is one of the most exemplary pastors in Uganda. He teaches to mix prayer with work. That is the way to success. That is how to stop the ‘spirit’ of joblessness, poverty, ignorance, hunger, and whatever. The spirit of wealth dwells in work.
By ignoring his critics and focus on what he does well, Kakande defies and defeats the actual ‘bad spirits’ disturbing Ugandans; of talking too much, doing so little, and wishing others failure.
By condemning every successful person in this country, it has made us a country of mediocrities. We loathe success because the mediocre mob will call you names when you stand out of the crowd.
It is sad churches, places where people would draw inspiration to break the yoke tying us down, are now the perpetrators of idle talk without basic research or investigation.
Otherwise, how can the national association of born again pastors condemn Kakande, Yiga, Makabai and Mbonye based on hear say? No one accusing Kakande was cross examined. No independent investigation has been made to nail the pastors above. That was abuse of laws of natural justice?
And whereas almost every pastor in Uganda has been accused of staging coached testimonies in their churches, it should have been a motivation of the entire born again fraternity to carry out an independent investigation and hand it over to police or court, to proper execution. The charges against Kakande, Mbonye, Makabai and Yiga are serious. It is not enough to say “We denied them”.
However I find unacceptable the fact that Kakande is accused of having powers of ‘darkness’ and yet be the same man accused of “stage managing” miracles. That’s a contradiction. You either have powers or faking it. So, we deserve to know if Kakande, Mbonye, Yiga, Ronnie et al, are faking powers or have it indeed?