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June 16, 2024
Kampala Daily

Pastor, Three Followers Arrested Over Shunning Enumeration Exercise

Police in Mityana District arrested a Pentecostal pastor and his three followers for allegedly blocking enumerators from conducting their work.

Ms. Racheal Kawala, the Wamala Regional Police spokesperson, identified the suspects as Pastor Samuel Kalibala, Joseph Kitika, Grace Nakamate, and Shamim Nabasirye. On Thursday, around 1 pm, the quartet was found inside a church in Naama Village, Mityana Municipality.

According to preliminary findings, an enumerator visited Pastor Samuel Kalibala’s premises on Thursday, May 16. However, the pastor was in church with some elderly people. They refused to come out and be counted, claiming they did not believe in the government’s plan to count people but instead believed in Jesus. The enumerator explained the importance of being counted, but they refused. Subsequently, they locked themselves inside the church, leaving the enumerator outside.

The enumerator promptly informed the police, who initiated a general inquiry file on the suspects. Officers rushed to the scene and found people locked inside. They managed to access the church and arrested the suspects.

Currently detained at Mityana Central Police Station, the suspects will be charged with obstructing an authorized officer.

In Uganda, cult-like religious groups have gained notoriety after the infamous March 17, 2000 incident in Kanungu District, where at least 700 people died after their leaders locked them inside a church and set it on fire. The group responsible was called the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God, a doomsday cult that believed the world would end at the turn of the millennium.

It’s essential to recognize that while many religious groups operate peacefully, there have been instances where charismatic leaders exploit their followers for profit and power.

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