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New religeous cult in Uganda

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by ByaseL, Jun 24, 2011.

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    ByaseL JF-Expert Member

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    Jun 24, 2011
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    Sembabule – It is 10:25am on Saturday, June 18, 2011 when I arrive at Kakiika village, a remote trading centre in Nankondo parish, Lwebitakuli sub-county in Sembabule district, about 60km west of Masaka town.
    This village is home to a new religious cult, ‘Enjiri ya Yesu’ (Luganda for ‘The Gospel of Jesus’), whose headquarters, according to its followers, are in heaven. After receiving directions to the cult’s church, I arrived in time for the main service. One of the followers had told me this was not a church in the traditional sense but, rather, ekkunganiro (meeting place), since their church is in heaven.

    Having arrived as worshippers prayed and sang hymns of praise, very few noticed that a stranger was in their midst, until the arrival of some followers a little later. The prayer session was interrupted and I was asked to explain my presence. A barrage of questions followed before the cult members, who seemed satisfied with my responses, allowed me to worship with them.
    They, however, but cautioned me to keep away my “anti-Christ gadgets” (camera and mobile phones) since they are unacceptable here. In their meeting place, all followers are equals and there are no priests or leaders. Anyone, irrespective of their age, can lead prayers and there are no special places like the altar reserved for priests.
    They are opposed to having religious heads because these rival the authority of Jesus.
    [h=3]Against formal education [/h] Followers of this cult are not supposed to take their children to formal schools or to established health facilities for medical attention, because these institutions are viewed as satanic and anti-Christ.
    “We would love to educate our children so that, perhaps, they become journalists like you, but it contradicts the teachings of the Holy Bible,” one cult member told me, refusing to disclose her name.
    On further probing, she said they stopped taking their children to school after realizing that the anti-Christ had infiltrated the education sector.
    “Previously, schools used index numbers, but now, they have adopted the use of PIN (personal identification number) codes. This is satanic, and it contradicts what was written in the Holy Bible,” she said.

    They base their teachings on the book of Revelation, chapters 13-19, which warn Christians about the anti-Christ, whom they believe is manifest in the current technological advancements and global modernization movements.
    Ironically, while they regard formal education a taboo, each of the members must carry a pen and notebook to the service to take notes during the sermon. On this Saturday morning, the preacher interrupted her sermon twice when she noticed that some people in the congregation had no pens and books – or were not writing.
    “We teach the children ourselves at home and, at times, here [at the church] after prayers,” another member told me.
    [h=3]Against elections[/h] Participation in elections is prohibited because elections bring about discrimination. “Choosing between two different people is discriminatory and it’s against our teachings. That is why we don’t vote,” the faithful said.
    Unlike in other faiths where prayer is ended with “Amen”, theirs ends with a Luganda phrase, “Wewaawo Yesu” (that’s it, Jesus). On Thursday, June 16, police officers from Sembabule police station raided the meeting place and arrested self-styled ‘Bishop’ Johnson Terebuka, and two women, Patricia Mbabazi and Deudanta Kebirungi, who are said to be the cult leaders. Residents in the area complained about the teachings and activities of the cult.

    “Their leader [Terebuka] was the chairman of our school management committee [Kakiika Primary School]. We were surprised when he resigned and removed all his children from the school,” said Shaban Mbeka, a resident of the village.

    Residents of Kakiika village are concerned about what they call strange teachings, and are appealing for government action against the group.
    “I don’t know whether they have just discovered this teaching that prohibits them from taking their children to school,” Mbeka said.

    “That teaching has divided families and marriages are breaking up because of the sharp disagreements over the issue of taking or not taking children to school,” said Hassan Kabagambe, the village council (LC 1) chairman.
    Residents say that the group’s following is steadily growing and the cult has reportedly spread to the neighbouring districts of Lyantonde and Kiruhura, while some followers are reported to be in Kampala and Busoga.
     
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