20 February 2013

Uganda: When the Lord Is Not Enough

The other Sunday, gospel artiste Exodus was arrested for two felonies: drink-driving and driving without a valid permit. It  had remained a secret, until Bukedde TV aired the incident in it's Agataliko Nfuufu news bulletin on Sabbath; the day for worship and praise of the Lord.

Exodus is becoming a hard paper. What should we make of him when we see him up the stage all singing like he is possessed? We shall keep on asking ourselves whether it is the Holy Spirit or alcohol at work.

Born-again Christians cursed the devil for making Exodus backslide. "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners," Jesus said. But Christ did not become a sinner to change them. Night club owners, ar owners and their patrons cursed the Police for arresting one of their own.

Exodus must have planned to have one leg in the secular world and another in the born-again haven way back. He chose the moniker carefully. With origins from Greece, Exodus refers to an act of going out. So Exodus, by being Exodus, must step out - to the night club, to bikini parties and even swing the bottle. His lifestyle makes the devil envious: all those bikini-clad girls around him, always chilling with Judith Heard for a married man is a case of one man having it all.

A screen shot of Agataliiko nfuufu news bulletin showing Exodus being arrested

How Exodus went back to his roots

Exodus is probably the Ugandan version of Lance Armstrong. He cheated, "stole" into the limelight by means of doping and told us a story of how a cancer victim went against all odds to be who he is. Exodus came to us with stories of a childhood on the streets characterised with drug abuse, poverty and everything that comes to mind when the word destitute is mentioned. Then he found Christ in 2001 and has since lived a clean life of a born-again who prays from Miracle Centre Cathedral.

Through the church, he underwent a complete rehabilitation programme. That was his story, probably based on wishful thinking. But now, he should be singing; "once a ganjaman/always a ganjaman." So how did someone leave Miracle Centre to go back to a life where people believe a sober head lies on an unfortunate body?

On that Sunday, the police confirmed that Exodus was back to his past life when he failed a breathlyser test after a night out in Club Silk. "He was arrested because he was drunkdriving. However, we later discovered that his driving permit had expired," says Moses Mutabingwa, the O.C Traffic.

Mutabingwa kick-started investigations into how Exodus managed to sneak out of the police cells before clearance. "He is on our wanted list now. He should explain the circumstances that led to his release from Old Kampala Police Station," says Mutabingwa.

But like Lance Armstrong, Exodus is playing the innocent child game. Soon after "escaping", he went on TV and claimed that he was not arrested for drunk-driving. He claimed that he does not consume any alcohol. "My permit had expired so I was arrested," he said. However, the Police insist that the breathlyser machine showed that he was drunk - way beyond the limit which people should be allowed to drive. Efforts to reach him on his mobile phone did not bear fruit.

Exodus to Oprah

His fellow Christians will agree that Exodus needs God, His grace and guidance. He needs God more than ever because he has fallen off the right path, backsliding all the way to the dungeons. But while at it, there are earthly options that can help him come to terms with his personality. He needs Oprah Winfrey, or her Ugandan equivalent. That chick has a way with getting confessions from celebrities. And after confession, the weight on his conscience will be reduced tenfold. After that, he may be on the way to full recovery.

After the confession on the TV reality show, some people will cry and say a little prayer to him. Others will simply shrug it off but everyone will pay attention. He should then enter into alcohol-nightclub-bikini- Judith Heard rehab. He could extend his rehab programme to include anything else he may be abusing but the public is not aware of. Say if he went back to using drugs, he can also add that to his programme.


Pastor Wilson Bugembe

His closeness to Uganda's bad boys like Bobi Wine has been questioned by among others, Nabi Omukazi (whose closeness to Chameleone will not be questioned in this article). Those who question this have their basis on the Bible. "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" 2 Corinthians 6:14.

Bugembe has explained that it is better to preach in a den of sinners than preaching to a church choir. For that reason, he goes out. He promised to marry (as in full Christian wedding and all) before the close of 2012. He even promised to invite "us".

It is February 2013 and "we" have not received an invitation to the wedding ceremony. That could be the problem of hanging out with people like Bobi Wine who do not mind singing about quitting marijuana and getting intoxicated by the time they get to the second verse. You do not have to stand by your word. You simply say what people want to hear, and go ahead in your not-soadmirable ways. In songs, he attacks fellow pastors like David Kiganda (Biribabitya).

Pastor Bugembe went ahead and acted as a gobetween in the Battle of the Champions show that took place on May 4, 2012 between Bobi Wine and Bebe Cool at Kyadondo Rugby Grounds. Still the same year he promised to wed and show his fans his wife in December that year but he never did!

Judith Babirye

First it was the separation with the husband Samuel Niiwo which raised a few eyebrows and some wondered how she interpreted the scripture. She called it quits following an ugly incident at their home in which, according to Babirye, Niiwo chased her around the house, grabbed her and beat her ferociously, in full view of their neighbours. In her former life, she refused to perform at secular events. She even refused to receive any PAM Awards accolade because it was tainted with winners like Chameleone. The event was even sponsored by a beer company.

Today, you will fi nd her performing at a ganja-totting audience at One Love Beach in Busabala. You may chance to catch her seated next to a beer, not to say a drunkard. If she is to ask God for a husband, we would not be shocked if she asked for the hand of Mickie Wine.

Peter Ssematimba

Peter Ssematimba, after years of being the male equivalent of Ssenga, pronounced that he had become born-again. He brought St. Valentine's celebrations to Kampala, and that is more Catholic than born-again. However, claims of his involvement of the GAVI funds scandal, political thuggery and his reason for getting saved (to get rich so I can aff ord a personal jet just to make love to my wife midair), leave a lot to be desired.

Richard Kaweesa

Richard Kaweesa passes off as one of those church people. With his World Music projects, he claimed to be a savior of the needy; always attaching projects to charity. But last year, in the offi cial Jubilee oga Yoga song, songwriter Estar Nabaasa claimed that Kaweesa was a cheat, of sorts. There were copywright issues, money issues and finally Kaweesa was the wolf in sheep's skin.

Isaac Rucci

A son to Rev. Leo Ruccibigango, Isaac had a strong spiritual backdrop as a youth. His father was the first senior pastor of Makerere Full Gospel Church in Kampala, before he relocated to Rwanda.

Despite a religious upbringing, Isaac lived his life differently as his friends infl uenced him to go to discos. From childhood, Isaac loved music and at one time, he joined the Afrigo band (that band that recorded Amazi g'enyama). He, however, returned to God in 1987 and joined Pastor Robert Kayanja's Miracle Centre choir.

Together with friends, he started LIMIT-X and ministering in Pentecostal churches in London and later moved to America. He returned to Uganda in 2003 with his wife and he is currently running a company called Fish Net Group which is involved in managing events, design and advertising. He also owns recording studios both in Kampala and Kigali. But, he is a regular in bars. He was seen at Hooters Bar in UMA Showgrounds two weeks ago in the company of Rastafarians who were celebrating Bob Marley's birthday.

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