Updated at 0554 EAT on Wednesday May 17, 2022
Internal Affairs minister, Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire (centre) welcomed to address the public during the thanksgiving ceremony of Mr Don Tumusiime, a leader of Bushenyi Town Temple Pentecostal Church, on Saturday.
Internal Affairs Minister Gen Kahinda Otafiire – Courtesy photo
The minister for Internal Affairs, Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire, has blamed leaders of Pentecostal churches for increasing poverty among the faithful.
Mr Otafire, who was addressing the public as a chief guest at the 50 years thanksgiving ceremony of Mr Don Tumusiime, a leader of Bushenyi Town Temple Pentecostal Church in Bushenyi-Ishaka Municipality on Saturday, said pastors are keeping their followers in poverty as they get richer.
“Though pastors pray for people and get healed, they forget to tell them to go to work. You must work and stop bothering God to give you money because he gave you a brain, hands and legs and they are functioning properly,”Mr Otafiire said.
Mr Otafiire said it is shameful for Pentecostal Church leaders to collect money from their followers yet they (followers) are sleeping on empty stomachs.
“It is a shame for Pentecostal Church ministers calling yourselves bishops and other names when a big group of your followers are in poverty. I hear that even pastors stop people from going to hospitals, which is so bad because science works together with God,” he said.
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“If you are a leader, in a country like Uganda that has all the natural resources and still people cannot afford to have three meals a day, it means there is a big problem, but to my surprise, some of you are proud because you are leading people who are even infected with jiggers,” he added. Mr Otafiire cautioned the clergy against internal fights.
“Let people worship their own God so long as they follow the laws. Stop internal fights because for us who are not frequent church goers, we have failed to understand what to follow. When you are involved in wars even with other religions, this will not only affect you, but also the development of this great nation,” he said.
Mr Tumusiime said during his 50 years of preaching the gospel, he has faced a number of challenges, which include internal church wars and lack of land and funds.
“At one time, I remember members of the church reported to government officials that I was a rebel subscribing to Entarahamwe (a rebel group from Rwanda), which was not true, so my 50 years of preaching have not been easy and worth celebrating,” he said.
Mr Nassan Ibrahim Turyamureeba, the church leader of Day Star Cathedral in Mbarara City, said Pentecostal Churches have followers who are capable of fostering development.
“It is very true we have not been working together and this has caused confusion, but now we have started a new chapter where different factions of Pentecostal Churches come together for the good of Christians because we are worshiping one God,” he said. Bishop Nassan Ibrahim Turyamureeba/am- Courtesy photo
Mr Turyamureeba said despite having representatives at the Inter-Religious Council, they (Pentecostal Churches) have had challenges with selfish leaders.
The chairman of Central Division in Bushenyi- Ishaka Municipality, Mr Stephen Karuti, said they have instructed the office of the Resident District Commissioner to ensure that whoever wants to start a church gets vetted by the security committee.
According to the National Fellowship of Born Again Pentecostal Churches Website, there are no specific number of Pentecostal churches in Uganda, but it is estimated to be more than 30,000 because at least every part of Uganda has a Pentecostal Church.