‘Prophet’ Samuel Kakande of the Synagogue Church of Uganda has yet again ratcheted controversy with his ‘miracle’ rice, which he is allegedly selling for Shs50, 000 compared to the market price of ‘ordinary’ rice which is Shs3, 000.
Apparently, the Pastor’s rice is blessed and will do miracles especially for the many Ugandans yearning to get jobs, visas, twins, a dream car or house. This has raised a lot of controversy within the public, with social media carrying thousands of negative comments against the ‘Prophet’ and other Pentecostals of his ilk.
Formerly, Kakande’s ‘miracles’ were distributed through hankies and ‘holy water’, where thousands of people lined up every weekend for the water that costs Shs10,000 for half a litre.
Indeed, Kakande is a man hardly out of controversy. Recently, he was summoned by Parliament over allegations of illegal sand mining in Kalungu district. However, using his influence, he skipped the summons and has never appeared in parliament till today.
Weeks earlier, his deputy, Pastor Johnson Muwanguzi had been arrested for being in illegal possession of two assault rifles and nearly 100 bullets, as confirmed at the time by Police spokesperson Andrew Kaweesi. Muwanguzi claimed the guns belonged to his boss (Pastor Kakande) who however, denied having any knowledge of the deadly weapons.
In the late 2000’s one of his pastors, Ghanaian born Reverend Kojo Obiri Yeboah was arrested at Entebbe airport and interrogated about an electric shock machine which he had just received from Europe.
This followed suspicions that the Ghanaian pastor intended to use the 12-volt machine to feign supernatural powers, by shocking his congregation to the ground during prayers.
Kojo was a businessman-turned preacher and son to the late prophet John Obiri Yeboah, who lived and preached in Uganda over 20 years ago.
His father owned the Redeemed Church of the Lord Ministries, a powerful association with a string of churches and property in Ghana, England, Italy and other parts of the world. Yeboah died in Uganda in 1987 and a power struggle ensued among leading ministers over who had inherited his powers. Upon Yeboah’s death, Kakande built his grave in Ghana, where Yeboah was buried in the regalia of a traditional African witchdoctor.
It is said that Kakande, his wife Loyce and protégé Godfrey Lule arranged and subsequently supported the return to Uganda of Yeboah’s sons, with Kojo first visiting Uganda in 2006.
The three had worked with the younger Yeboah’s father in the 1970s and 1980s.
Meanwhile, in 2006, Kakande was disowned by the National Fellowship of Born Again Pentecostal Churches of Uganda (NFBPCU), following allegations by Pastor Male that the former was practicing witchcraft.
At the time Male, who said he joined the Kakandes on May 29, 1988 believing the couple was rightly called by God, said he was shocked when he ‘came face to face with the truth’.
“As the couple’s co-pastor, I witnessed a lot of evil committed in the name of “Jesus of Prophet John Obiri Yeboah”. The pastors used the dead Yeboah’s spirit to perform miracles and to torment and destroy purported enemies,” he said then in an interview with the New Vision.
“They wrote and issued paper talismans; used stinking stuff mixed with water to sprinkle on followers to destroy enemies; and abetted their followers in animal sacrifices and the use of traditionally biased witchcraft materials, all indicative of witchcraft powers. They had divination powers and were fond of cursing while invoking prophet Yeboah’s name,” he was quoted as saying.
In the months that followed, after testifying against Kakande, Male was arrested and a defamation case OB NO E/185/93 was opened against him at the CID headquarters, homicide department.
“The Kakandes accused me of defaming them and the Holy Church of Christ. I was arrested on August 16, 1993, spent one night in a Wandegeya Police Station cell and was released on Police Bond on August 17, 1993. On August 19, 1993, I made a 21-page statement at the CID headquarters, citing witchcraft, destruction, marriage break-ups and other evils committed by the couple, concluding that the couple was counterfeit, using the Bible as cover-up for their satanic powers and practices. In conclusion, I said witnesses could verify it. The investigating officer was surprised to see so many people willing to give evidence in my favour.
“When I went back on the appointed day, Akida (police detective) smiled when he saw me, and said, ‘Pastor Male, I have good news for you. Sit down. ‘I met pastor Kakande and his wife, and had an in-depth discussion with them. He (Kakande) admitted that it is only you and them who know the truth about what really happened, and for that matter, he has decided not to pursue the matter anymore. He has withdrawn all the charges, and you are now a free man.’”