Kampala — THE first half of this year left its mark in the history of Uganda's Born-again church. Renowned pastor, Robert Kayanja, was accused of sodomy.
A group of five pastors and their colleagues pinned the Rubaga Miracle Centre cleric but Kayanja denied the allegations, calling them mudslinging.
The accusers were pastors Michael Kyazze, Martin Ssempa, Solomon Male, Kayiira and Semujju.
Anita Kyomuhendo and David Mukalazi were the co-accusers. The Police investigated the matter and cleared Kayanja, averting a prolonged court battle.
Between February and April, some young men who accused kayanja of sodomy recorded statements at the Central Police Station (CPS) in Kampala and the Criminal Investigations Directorate in Kibuli. Some of the boys, like Samson Mukisa, 19 and Ivan Akansiima, 22, alleged that Kayanja had sodomised them while David Mukalazi, 36, Ronnie Mutebi, 21, Robson Matovu and James Brian Ntwatwa, 24, said he attempted to sodomise them.
Mukisa alleged that he was sodomised last year after a music competition at Kayanja's church. He claimed that after his choir, 'Group A', won the competition, Kayanja drove him in a tinted car to an unknown Kampala hotel, under the guise of congratulating him. Instead, Mukisa recounted, Kayanja sodomised him on June 25 and 26, last year. He added that thereafter, Kayanja called a medical doctor to stitch up his anus and to declare him insane.
Kayanja's bodyguards then took him to Kampiringisa Health Centre, where he spent a month, Mukisa added. After a month at Kampiringisa, a doctor examined him and declared him sane, giving him a ticket out of the place. Mukisa narrated that it was from there that he went to Omega Healing Centre in Namasuba, where he revealed his ordeal to pastors Kyazze, Semujju and Kayiira.
In his statement, Mukisa said he joined Rubaga Miracle Centre in 2003, after his father, Richard Bulega, had died. However, according to the Police, he contradicted himself by saying he stopped going to the church after the death of his father in 2003,.
He reportedly swore an affidavit commissioned by lawyer Henry Ddungu, an advocate with Sekana Associates in February 2009.
In a twist of events, however, the boys retracted their statements, claiming they had been paid to frame Kayanja. This prompted a thorough Police investigation.
Police carried out investigations and a report, signed by Grace Akullo, the acting Police commissioner in charge of general crimes, came out on August 4. It was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
The 53-page document says the complainants had retracted their statements, confessing that they had been mobilised to make false accusations against Kayanja, in order to tarnish his name.
In her notes, Akullo said the Police surgeon did not find any evidence of sodomy or attempted sodomy, apart from Mukalazi, who is still at large and is yet to be examined.
In her findings, Akullo also established that Pastor Kayiira, Herbert Tumukunde, an employee at Rubaga Miracle Centre and Gadafi Seremba, a motorcycle rider, were arrested within the church's premises on April 17.
Tumukunde, Kayiira and Seremba, who had been hired from Namasuba, planned to trespass with intent to steal property of the Miracle Centre Rubaga, the report adds.
Akullo advised that the three should be charged with criminal trespass and conspiracy to commit a crime.
The report notes that Detective Assistant Inspector of Police, Charles Okello, in his statement on April 21, said he arrested the three at Kayanja's church as they reportedly tried to pick information from a computer.
One of the complainants, Mukisa, lied about his identity. "He is not Samson Mukisa as stated in the affidavit but Robert Musasizi Kaliba," reads the report in part.
It adds that Mukisa told lies about his parents. He had earlier alleged that both his parents were dead but Police investigations revealed that his parents were still alive, the report says.
It also shows that Mukisa had never been a member of Rubaga Miracle Centre nor had he been a leader of a choir called "Group A" as alleged in the statement to the Police.
"Infact, there has never been a choir called "Group A" at Rubaga Miracle Centre, and last year, there was no music competition at Miracle Centre."
There was evidence, according to the report, that Pastor Kayanja was out of the country during the dates of the alleged sodomy and that there was no medical evidence to show that he sodomised Mukisa nor of Mukisa's stitched up anus.
"A medical report done by a Police surgeon on February 18, reveals no evidence of sodomy," Akullo noted. Besides, the Police said Kayanja had travelled to the US between June 11 and July 2, 2008.
However, Dr. Johashaphat Jombe of Mulago Hospital, in a statement on May 18, said when he examined Mukisa on March 24, "the complainant did not have any signs of a recent sodomy but had a partially patulous anus with reduced anal sphincheric tone" and sodomy could not be ruled out, the report noted.
The Police also proved that Mukisa was never at Kampiringisa Health Centre. Quoting officials from the centre, Akullo said Mukisa had never been taken there. Sarah Nassuna, a nursing assistant, Andrew Mukasa, a medical officer, Paul Namonye, a house master and Michael Alule, the principal of the rehabilitation centre, all denied having handled anyone called Samson Mukisa.
The report adds that on May 20, Mukisa, in an extra judicial statement, said the information in his affidavit and statement, both dated February 17, was false and that it was pastors Kyazze, Male, Kayiira and Ssempa who had coerced him into making the false statements against Kayanja.
The Police proposed to the DPP that all the pastors who mobilised complainants against Kayanja be charged with conspiracy to injure his reputation.
Akullo recommended that Samson Mukisa, David Mukalazi, James Brian Ntwata, Robson Matovu, Ronnie Mutebi and Ivan Ankansima, be retained as witnesses in the conspiracy case.
She also recommended that the pastors be charged with giving false information to persons employed by the public service. The CID chief, Edward Ochom, described the allegations against Kayanja as 'baseless', 'fabricated' and 'full of lies'.
What the DPP says
The Police sent the file to the DPP, Richard Buteera, for perusal and he said he would get back to them with advice on the next course of action.
Kayanja notes that in the Gospel, Jesus says a person should forgive 77 times, but he was going to seek justice because of the emotional pain the scandal had caused him and his family. "I had to forego a number of crusades and other projects to clear my name, hence the law must take its course. I have already filed a defamation case."
What do the accusing pastors say?
Pastors Ssempa and Male still insist the case was mishandled and that the Police took sides. They said they were ready to meet Kayanja in court. They have also petitioned President Yoweri Museveni, requesting him to institute a probe into the manner in which the Police handled the sodomy claims.
The two pastors, who head an NGO, the National Coalition Against Homosexuality and Sexual Abuse, suggested that a presidential commission probes how Mukisa changed his statements. The pastors maintain that they are simply representing the voiceless people, who approached them for help.
Robert Kayanja was born in 1962 in Masooli village, Wakiso district, to John and Ruth Walakira.
His father was a lay-reader in the Anglican Church.
He is the younger brother of the Archbishop of York, in the UK, John Sentamu.
He started ministry at the age of 22, around 1984.
He started the Miracle Centre as a papyrus-reed structure in Rubaga.
He is the Senior Pastor of the 10, 500-seater Cathedral, which was officially opened in 2004 by President Yoweri Museveni.
The Cathedral is reported to have been built at a cost of $7m, with glasses donated by a South Korean woman who was healed after Kayanja prayed for her.
He is also the founder of the over 1,000 Miracle Centre churches within and outside the country.
He is the overseer of the Miracle Bible College, the Never Again Children's project and the Kapeeka orphanage (children's outreaches).
He appears on the weekly Miracle Life television programmes on Lighthouse and Daystar Television networks.
He is a globe-trotter, and has been to over 50 countries, spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.
He resides in Ggaba with his wife, Jessica (daughter of Prof. Frederick Ssempebwa), their son, Robert Kayanja Junior and twin daughters, Kirstein and Christiana.
Compiled by Ben Okiror