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Prominent Ugandan Pastor Accused of Sex Abuse Cover-Up

The Kampala Monitor reports:

Julius [Lukyamuzi] had a shattered childhood after his parents separated in mid 1990s. He lived his early years in destitution with his mother near Bwebajja on Entebbe Road. After his Primary Seven education, he came to the city in 1995 in search of employment. His story reveals how he found home on the streets, teamed up with street gangs for survival.

…His story is a fusion of sadness, exploitation and betrayal inflicted on him by people who were supposed to protect and counsel him. It’s also a glaring exposure of the emptiness of some of the emerging evangelical churches of pseudo-puritans who have turned into Devil’s disciples.

What follows is an account of how Lukyamuzi became a Christian and entered the household of Grace Kitaka, a male pastor who adopted him as son. However, Lukyamuzi also alleges that Kitaka forced him, and other boys, to endure years of extensive sexual abuse. Kitaka was finally arrested last year, but so far he “has never been taken to court”.

Kitaka, who heralds from a royal family, was the associate pastor of Liberty Center International, a megachurch led by female pastor Imelda Namutebi. Namutebi is part of the “A-list” of charismatic Christian leaders in Uganda; in May, as I blogged at the time, she shared the stage with Benny Hinn, who “said that he could see power around Pastor Namutebi, and prophesied an anointing for chasing demons and breaking witchcraft over her life”.

Lukyamuzi accuses Namutebi of colluding with the abuse:

In 1997, we boys who lived at Kitaka’s home told Pastor Imelda Namutebi that Kitaka was a gay. She said, “He is not, it can’t be, never talk about a man of God, never touch my anointed one…” She got a Bible and started counselling us. But we told her we were going to tell the whole world what this guy was doing.

She pleaded saying if we did, the church would split. She asked us what we wanted, we said we wanted to leave Kitaka. She told us to be patient and warned that if I told my mum, I would see what would happened to me.

The church’s website is down, but the MSN cache allows us to see Kitaka’s profile. I’ll quote at longer length than usual:

Pastor Grace Kitaka is the Associate Pastor of Liberty Worship Center. Prince Grace Kitaka was born from a Royal Family. His father Kitaka was one of the king’s royal men. His father grew up with the king Mutesa II of Buganda in the early 50.

Grace was born in June 1963 in a town around Kampala. Since his father was completely against the Christian faith, he grew up in a church environment. His Mother, Mrs. Beatrice Mugale Kitaka was a born again Christian and she always attended a home church called Full Gospel where Grace, her son was able to attend Sunday school too. It was with this background that he developed his love for Music. Grace says that he drew a lot of inspiration from one Mr. Sebulime David who is currently living in Texas USA; he held a rich talent in music. His first attempt to sing was during a youth outreach group that he joined in the early 1980’s. This line of Ministry created a misunderstanding with his dad and he therefore had to leave home in the search to serve God.

It was at around this time that he joined Pastor Robert Kayanja at Rubaga Miracle Centre. A number of doors opened for the upcoming worship Minister. He has this to say about his journey to becoming a pastor. ‘I happened to have started moving to different churches teaching music and training praise and worship teams. Well my dream was to start a music school and music recording studio to help the upcoming musicians. This never seems to work out faster than I expected. Therefore I left Rubaga Miracle centre and joined Victory Christian Centre where I traveled with Pastor Serwadda in a couple of countries.’ It was after a couple of years that he moved on to join the late Pastor Balyabyekubo where he was made Pastor.

Following the rapid growth of his Music talent, Pastor Grace was invited to Kansanga Miracle centre to teach Praise and worship. Here, he got to know Pastor Imelda Namutebi who was then the Associate Pastor at Kansanga Miracle Centre. Together they teamed up and started Liberty Worship Centre International.

He testifies that the Lord has greatly used him through the Ministry of Pastor Imelda Namutebi.

Namutebi, meanwhile, is a prominent exponent of the prosperity gospel, and one of the wealthiest people in the country. Last year, the New Vision noted her

…luxurious metallic green Toyota Prado, with a customised registration number plate, Psalms 8…

Alas, it turned out that the vehicle, and another one belonging to Pastor Robert Kayanja, had been stolen from Japan. Commentator Ernest Bazanye has further details about the pastor’s preferred mode sof transport

Pastor Imelda owns a Hummer H2, as bright and yellow as the woman herself, that is a perpetual nuisance to other users of Kampala’s narrower roads. When the monstrosity is bearing down on them, halogen headlamps searing white into their optic centre as they clamour to swerve onto the pavement and out of the way, I am sure motorists all find themselves thinking, “Behold the blessings the Lord doth visit upon his faithful servants.”

Namutebi is also a controversial figure due to her marriage to Tom Kula; this 2003 report gives some background:

Followers of Imelda Namutebi, a pastor at Liberty Worship Church Center in the suburbs of the capital, Kampala, and a notable public figure, attacked and severely beat [Nicholas] Kajoba, a journalist for the state-owned daily New Vision.

Kajoba had gone to the church to cover Namutebi’s first sermon since her controversial wedding the previous week. In the days before and after the wedding, New Vision had published a number of articles and readers’ letters about the marriage. Some of the letters criticized her for marrying a man who had not divorced his previous wife and implied that he had abandoned his first wife and child.

Church members attacked Kajoba when he tried to take a picture of Namutebi preaching. Namutebi encouraged the perpetrators, saying the journalist deserved the beating for his paper’s negative stories about her, sources at New Vision said. The church members took Kajoba’s notebook and film. The journalist was later treated at a Kampala hospital for a head injury.

Namutebi’s Liberty Worship Center is also active in South Africa, and she claims to have cured AIDS in the country:

The Lord has used Pastor Imelda Namutebi Kula to accomplish his great works through Miracles, Signs, wonders and prophecy in the small hometown of South Africa, Pretoria. Her Ministry has opened a new Chapter in the South African Pentecostal churches and God has used her as a great voice to attack the goliath of HIV/AIDS in South Africa.

The fire of this revival started in Pretoria in the humble home town of Soshanguve during an annual conference that was organized by Pastor Victor Mogkothla at the University of Tswane Premises from 24th-26th December 2006. During this powerful conference, Pastor Imelda Kula ministered and the power of the Holy Ghost touched the lives of people. Testimonies delivered proved that HIV/AIDS was healed and from this moment on, people who have come to these conferences have always testified that God has healed them from the HIV/AIDS scourge. It is important to note that the number of people who have so far testified about the cure of the scourge is at least 30 people.

the charges against Kitaka stick, there will hopefully be some questions about why she was not willing to deal with a “scourge” closer to home – and one that could have been dealt with without recourse to supernatural means. However, in the notoriously homophobic Uganda, it is just as likely that a conviction would be used to fuel a panic concerning “gays”, rather than to assess the problem of sexual predators among an unaccountable clergy.

UPDATE: More today.

4 Responses

  1. […] of pedophilia and rape recently made against male Ugandan pastor Grace Kitaka (which I blogged here) have stirred his peers into action: “The National fellowship of Born-again Pentecostal […]

  2. […] few weeks ago I blogged on the case of Julius Lukyamuzi, a Ugandan who alleges that he suffered years of sexual abuse at […]

  3. […] has been a bad year for African evangelists: numerous scandals have been reported, ranging from male rape through to the use of an electric shock machine to impersonate the Holy Spirit. Possibly related […]

  4. So brutal and cold, and barbaric, shame on you pastors! how can thses people tarnish the name of the Living and true God? My heart goes out to the abused victims , and I extend a hand of prayers and condolences, keep trusting in God not Man

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