HOW THE ‘CORRUPT’ TUMWINE COUPLE CAUSED SPLIT BETWEEN PASTORS BUGINGO & NALUSWA (AND WHY TEDDY’S NEW CHURCH MAYN’T GO FAR WITHOUT THEM)
By Mulengera Reporters
Unknown to most people, Gender Ministry Director William Tumwine (also former KCC Town Clerk) and his street-wise wife Stella Kakuba Tumwine (both now in Luzira) have been the key pillars behind Teddy Naluswa Bugingo’s efforts to found her own Church. To be located along Bombo Road not very far from Bat Valley where Aloysius Bugingo started his House of Prayer Ministries International, the new Church is being unveiled today Saturday 4th 2020.
In this investigative story, Mulengera News unveils how the idea to start this new church was conceived with the Tumwines (who originally served as influential members of Elders Council at Bugingo’s church) acting as chief advisors to Naluswa. Having been arrested by operatives from Nakalema’s State House Anti-Corruption Unit, the Tumwines were on Thursday arraigned before Makindye Grade II Magistrate John Robert Okiipi who remanded them to Luzira until Monday 6th when they return to have their bail application heard.
BACK TO NALUSWA
Having joined Bugingo’s House of Prayer Ministries Church in its infancy at Bat Valley, the Tumwines wielded a lot of influence and, being the pastor’s wife, Naluswa gradually built a strong relationship with Stella Kakuba Tumwine who took on the role of chief mobilizer persuading many wealthy working Banyankole couples to become members of Bugingo’s church. An employee of the Judiciary where she has been working in the procurement department, Mrs. Tumwine was behind the attracting of powerful figures like URA’s Evas to become active Pentecostal Christians fellowshipping at Bugingo’s church. She also contributed to wealthy Richard Magyezi’s membership to Bugingo’s church. Magyezi famously contributed $200,000 (roughly Shs800m) towards the purchase of the Canaan land (8 acres) which the Bugingo church administration gradually paid back.
Being the owner of a very successful construction firm called Rich Flo, that is based in Nakawa near URA where he also owns a huge commercial building, Richard Magyezi came with his wife Florence Magyezi. The Magyezi couple is very influential and their membership inspired hundreds of other well-earning Banyankoles to defect to Bugingos Church. And within a short time, Bugingo had a large crowd of wealthy Banyankoles and they always took front seats because, being very spiritually very enthusiastic, they always came early and took front seats. They seemingly never regretted as God seemed to do mighty things blessing them at work and home-all courtesy of deep praying Bugingo inculcated in them.
After some time, the Tumwines (who were the most outspoken couple in the Elders Council meetings) developed a feeling they had earned their place and their Banyankole supporters in the church began putting Bugingo under pressure to elevate one of them to the pastors’ league. “Having a Munyankole or Munyarwanda among the pastors who preach on Sunday and during Church crusades will attract many more of their co-ethnics to House of Prayer besides strengthening those who are already church members,” Bugingo would be repeatedly told by powerful Westerners praying at Canaan. And this wasn’t far fetched because in the Pentecostal Movement, being an elder precedes one’s elevation to pastorhood. The elders are so important in church to the extent that should there be an emergency preventing the pastor from making it to the pulpit, one of the them can ably step forward and lead the day’s church session.
Knowledgeable sources say that, being the conservative, he is, Bugingo was reluctant to buy into that proposal calling on him to elevate one of the Tumwines to pastorhood. He preferred having his Naluswa, Francis Mutawe, Martin Sebuguzi, Edward Kayizi and a one Charles Semakula as his co-pastors. The Tumwines, who considered themselves responsible for a larger fraction of the Church membership especially the westerners who would come at their prompting, didn’t take this lightly especially Mrs. Tumwine whose brother Adam Kakuba (a controversial accountant for Kayongo’s SLOA faction managing Owino market) had also joined House of Prayer prompting those close to him to follow suit from the business community.
Because they had become very close, Mrs. Tumwine (whose children would frequent Mrs. Bugingo’s home for children’s birth day parties) began manipulating Teddy Naluswa inciting her to use her leverage as the Pastor’s wife to resist some of the Church and Salt Media-related ideas Bugingo was coming up with being the main man in both the Church and media empire. Some of the wealthy working Banyankoles who had joined at the prompting of the Tumwines began being told they must consider relocating to another Church “because Bugingo is a devil worshipper with links to the Nigerian Ogas.”
This talk escalated some time in 2018 when Bugingo spent four days on a holiday in Chobe Safaris. This conspicuous absence coincided with the retreat President Museveni had in the same Chobe Safaris with his CEC members. The supporters of the Tumwines took advantage of the man of God’s unexplained absence, lasting four days, to spread reports he had secretly travelled to Nigeria to get replenished with stronger devil-worshipping powers. This claim, false as it was, cracked many wealthy westerners who had refused decamping from Canaan land even when supporters of the Tumwines had taken some good years propagating this narrative. That is how Evas, a big man at URA, got demoralized and resigned from being a member of the Elders Council at the Church.
Bugingo subsequently got reports that the Tumwines too acquiesced to this rumor of Nigerian devil-worshipping. Some assistants wanted him to confront them but he declined instead preferring to ask big government officials, to whom this was claimed, to cross check with immigration authorities where it was confirmed the man had never travelled outside Uganda since the inception of his church at Bat Valley.
The Tumwines somehow got the rumors and premonition that, even when he kept quiet, Bugingo was hurting that they weren’t doing enough to defend him against unfounded rumors linking him to the Nigerian devil-worshipping. They reached out telling him how they are devout Christians who can’t play double-standards of having to stab their pastor in the back. The Tumwines, who belonged to many other Churches before joining House of Prayer, begged Bugingo to organize their re-baptism and re-dedication which took place at Makerere swimming pool. This was days before the President visited Canaan land where he praised Bugingo for converting would-be thugs in the ghettos.
At some point, Naluswa got bitter and started complaining as to why Bugingo was expanding the Salt Media (acquiring six radios upcountry) without adequately involving her and other pastors. The Tumwines supported her arguing her grievances were justified. Bugingo said he had his reasons because having to consult everybody sometimes complicated decision-making. Naluswa remained bitter and started referring to Bugingo as a dictator, a narrative Mrs. Tumwine propagated among the wealthy Westerners who had joined Canaan at her prompting. She argued that some of them, like Magyezi, had a right to confront Bugingo over this dictatorship, because of the vast financial contribution they were making to the Ministry.
The Naluswa faction began demanding that Bugingo discloses some of the wealthy church members who secretively were making big cash contributions without being comfortable being disclosed. He reluctantly disclosed Richard Magyezi and the different causes to which he had been contributing privately. As soon as he did this, the disgruntled officials began speaking to him in confidence while trying to demonize Bugingo as not good enough to be his pastor. This was aimed at alienating him from Bugingo and the church as well. Because some of the people telling him these negatives were involved in bringing him to the same Church, Magyezi gradually cracked in his commitment to Bugingo’s church. And this explains why when Martin Sebuguzi, who was Bugingo’s deputy decamped at the beginning of last year, Magyezi was among the very first wealthy Church members he approached and led away from Canaan though he later on got disappointed.
The Naluswa faction (quietly battling Bugingo since 2015) initially believed the Sebuguzi defection/exit would prompt many church members to decamp which never happened. In the subsequent meetings, Bugingo told them (in the hearing of the Tumwines) that he wasn’t worried “because church isn’t made because of money but its about God’s actual calling.” He repeatedly argued that it was erroneous for anyone to start a Church merely because they want to revenge and bring down House of Prayer Ministries. He always argued there is no way God can move with a person like that decamping to start a new church in order to break any of the already existing churches.
In the end, elders like Evas decamped (stopped attending church or even Namboole) but it was agreed no acrimony should be noticed by the larger church congregation. The Evas and those who believed in them decamped and left others in peace at Canaan (mainly Francis Mutawe, Edward Kayizi, Babirye and other members of the Bugingo innermost circle). In fact, by the time (last April) Bugingo went public about his fallout with Teddy and daughter Doreen, some of the influential elders like Tumwine no longer considered themselves part of the House of Prayer Ministries. And for Bugingo, determined not to bow to what he considered Naluswa’s unreasonable demands and criticisms, it was time to get new people to work with. But even after decamping, the Tumwines and the supporters continued bad-mouthing Bugingo as they had meetings planning the founding of Naluswa’s future Church. He would get plenty of feedback and leaks from those meetings but he was advised not to fight back especially that the Tumwines and other defectors had been known by the larger congregation to be deep insiders in his scheme of things. Blasting them publicly would prompt them to retaliate and possibly spill some of the sensitive Ministry secrets.
As he determined to move on without fighting back, Bugingo would also be approached by disgruntled Owino market traders who would be coming to him to report Adam Kakuba’s excesses as the Accountant for the SLOA faction that is headed by Nkaja Kayongo.
Meanwhile Charity Agaba, a business lady loyal to Naluswa, re-emerged and became very active at the Naluswa meetings. She hadn’t fully decamped from Canaan and she indeed lured many more Westerners to quit anticipating to join the new Church Naluswa was planning to unveil. Key Naluswa promoters are confident that with the wealthy Christians like Richard Magyezi on board (and the Charity Agabas of this world mobilizing many more to join in), there is no way Naluswa’s new Church Ministry will fail to have the necessary logistics to operate. There are also some who have been plotting to immediately have the Tumwines commissioned into pastorhood so that gradually, one of them upstages Naluswa and becomes the Senior/Main Pastor for the new Church pushing Naluswa to the periphery on grounds of inadequate charisma. Some had suggested inciting some of the 3,000 ushers Bugingo maintains at Canaan to also defect and come to disclose shocking secrets to encourage more defections into the new church. But this failed after the ushers declined saying they are happily remunerated under House of Prayer. Similar attempts to incite some of the media employees equally failed.
But all said and done, many remain anxious that the absence of the Tumwines (or the way in which Nakalema has humiliated them even if they are to return) will negatively impact on Naluswa’s nascent church Ministry whose progress would have been much more if the versatile Tumwines didn’t go through the humiliating ordeal the State House anti-Corruption Unit occasioned on them via their public arraignment at the Makindye Court on Thursday. The timing of their indictment (being on the eve of 2021 campaigns during which Museveni must have a lot to tell the populace to illustrate zero tolerance to corruption) also further complicates chances that the Tumwines can return and whole heartedly support their protégé Naluswa at the time she needs them most. The Nakalema debacle also came at a time the flamboyant Mrs. Tumwine was completing her graduate studies at UCU in order to be able scale workplace heights at the Judiciary like never before. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0703164755 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org).