Rick Warren-linked Ugandan Pastor Interrogated over “Sodomy” Allegations Against Rival Pastor

Ssempa on Kayanja: “I have no problem with Kayanja. He has never sodomised me.”

The current anti-gay obsession in Uganda appears to be taking on the characteristics of  a seventeenth-century witch hysteria; Box Turtle Bulletin has a useful round-up:

This latest campaign began nearly two and a half months ago when three American anti-gay activists spoke at a conference in Kampala organized by Pastor Stephen Langa’s Family Life Network. That conference featured Exodus board president Don Schmierer, Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, and purported raiser-of-the-dead and Richard Cohen protegé Caleb Lee Brundidge.

The March 3-5 conference called for Uganda’s laws against homosexuality — which currently call for a life sentence — to be “strengthened” with an option to force those convicted into ex-gay therapy. Exodus International “applauded” Schmierer’s role at the conference, but Exodus President Alan Chambers later tried to wash his hands of responsibility for it as the repercussions of the conference unfolded.

These repurcussions have included a campaign of “outings” by a local newspaper, and there are claims that now even non-gay men are being imprisoned on suspicion. Lively is described as a “Holocaust revisionist” due to his book The Pink Swastika, which claims that homosexuals were perpretators of the Holocaust, not its victims.

Futher, a number of high-profile pastors are now accusing each other.  Recently, a “saved ex-gay” named George Oundo appeared at a press conference organised by Langa:

Oundo named a popular Catholic priest, Fr. Anthony Musaala, as a homosexual. Musaala, whose Charismatic Renewal Movement has a huge youth following, just happens to be a longtime rival of Ssempa.

Other pastors are jumping onto the “outing” bandwagon to settle scores as well, and the rivalries are so complex that it takes some diagramming to keep it all straight. Here goes: Pastor Solomon Male of Arise for Christ Ministry accused Pastor Robert Kayanja of the Rubaga Miracle Center Cathedral of being a homosexual, along with “a group of other pastors.” Kayanja’s Rubaga Miracle Center is a very large and prosperous megachurch in Kampala…

Kayanja’s personal aide, Chris Muwonge, was allegedly kidnapped and tortured by armed men and held for five days. His captors allegedly wanted him to make a video statement accusing Kayanja of molesting young boys. Kayanja accused his rival, Pastor Michael Kyazze of the Omega Healing Center of being behind the plot. Kyazze’s assistant, Pastor Robert Kayiira was arrested earlier for trying to sneak a laptop computer into Kayanja’s Miracle Center. His close friend? Pastor Solomon Male. Kayanja reportedly believes that Martin Ssempa is involved in the allegations against him as well.

I blogged on Kayanja here; he has long-standing links with Benny Hinn. Pastor Martin Ssempa held a high-profile anti-gay rally in 2007, and he works closely with Rick Warren; Warren’s wife has gushed over him as her “brother”. Oundo was apparently “saved” at Ssempa’s church.

Six statements against Kayanja have now been retracted, and police have dropped their investigation, calling the claims “unbelievable”. Instead, the rival pastors are being themselves investigated for allegedly setting him up; the New Vision reported on this on Monday, including a quote from Ssempa:

Ssempa said for years he had assisted victims of homosexuality, a job he described as tough. “I pray that the country will not forget the boys. There should be justice for boys who have been abused sexually just like for girls,” he stated.

“I have no problem with Kayanja. He has never sodomised me,” Ssempa said. “It is the children who came to us and confessed. It is those who are seeking justice.”

Ssempa said he was concerned that some people in Kayanja’s church were highly-placed in the Police force. “But we have faith in democracy and justice,” he added.

The police have now warned the pastors under investigation not to make any further public comments on the matter, and in a new twist one alleged victim who retracted his is now saying he only did so under duress. Bizarrely, he is also complaining that a certain woman is falsely claiming to be his mother.

Kayanja enjoys the support of Uganda’s risible Minister for Ethics and Integrity, Dr. James Nsaba Buturo; a few days ago it was reported that he

has warned pastor Solomon Male of Arising for Christ ministries on false allegations the pastor is making on fellow pastors causing divisionism among Ugandans.

Dr. Buturo says that Male over the years has been pointing fingers at fellow pastors accusing them even when he had no facts. The minister says that an example is the recent incident where Male accused Pastor Robert Kayanja of sodomy. Buturo says this did not only tarnish the name on Kayanja but also the whole country.

A letter to a newspaper in response to this expresses some scepticism:

I would like to challenge Nsaba Buturo as to why he comes out only when allegations are made against Pastor Kayanja. Similar allegations have been made against many men of God before but he did not comment. The most recent example is that of Catholic Priest, Fr. Anthony Musaala against whom similar allegations were made by a former homosexual who is now an associate of Pastor Male.

Is Pastor Male trying to use sodomy as a tool against his colleagues in order to pull them down? And why is Nsaba Buturo only defending Pastor Kayanja? Is it because he goes to the Pentecostal churches and not the Catholic churches? Why the double standards?

Just yesterday, the South Africa Times ran a piece lamenting the extravagence and corruption of Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni (another close associate of Rick Warren). Doubtless he’s quite content to have his people fretting over gays under the bed rather than subjecting him to critical scrutiny.