President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has told Born Again Christians (Balokole) that the only way to do miracles and be good examples in society is to get involved in the four dimensions of Jesus Christ which include; preaching the gospel, healing the sick, feeding the hungry and work for prosperity.
“I’m happy to see that you seem to be correcting the past mistakes and finally walking in the footsteps of Jesus whose mission had four dimensions; to preach the gospel, heal the sick, feed the hungry and work in the carpentry. So, it’s good that you the Balokole with your discipline, if you get involved in the four dimensions of Jesus, you can do miracles,” President Museveni said, adding that in the Bible, it’s written; “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good deeds, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
The President who was accompanied by the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Maama Janet Museveni, was on Tuesday, 26th September 2023, the Chief Guest at the consecration Ceremony of Bishop Moses Odongo as the General overseer of National Fellowship of Born Again Pentecostal Churches of Uganda at Kololo Independence Grounds.
“I congratulate Bishop Odongo upon his consecration. I also congratulate Bishop Joshua Lwere for his dedicated service in the last 10 years,” H.E Museveni noted, adding that in 1986 when the NRM had just come into government he stood his ground after some people proposed to him to ban the Balokole movement for claiming to be performing miracles that never existed.
The President noted that between 1962 and 1966, when he was a very active mulokole and the president of the Scripture Union he read somewhere in the Bible that Jesus did not stop some groups of people who were reported to him for performing miracles like him.
“But Jesus also said if they are not against us, they are for us. I told them, if they (Pentecostals) are telling lies, God will deal with them. I’m surprised that a small decision enabled this huge group of people to come up,” H.E Museveni said.
The President also appreciated the day’s preacher from Ghana, Rev. Dr. Robert Ampiah-Kwofi who hailed the unity in Uganda. He said the dream of the NRM government is to ensure the prosperity of all people through working for both the stomach and for money.
“We told you a long time ago. Stop working only for the stomach but also for money. That’s the dream of the NRM government that we should all share,” The President said.
He welcomed what he termed as descendants from the diaspora back to Africa saying that everything needed to develop like other continents is in Africa.
“In Africa we have everything. India has 1.4 billion people but Africa is 12 times the size of India. Africa is four times bigger than the USA. So, I’m glad that our people are linking up with you and we are going to do miracles together,” The President said.
The former General Overseer of the National Fellowship of Born Again Pentecostal Churches of Uganda, Bishop Joshua Lwere thanked President Museveni for standing with the born-again Christians since the NRM government came into power.
He said the different groups of born-again Christians in Uganda that include; the Association of Miracle Center Churches led by Pastor Robert Kayanja, the Born-Again faith led by Apostle Joseph Sserwadda, the Evangelical Fellowship of Uganda led by Bishop Simon Peter Emiau and the National Fellowship of Born-Again Churches of Uganda which he has been leading, are all working together in evangelization.
“We are not that Balokole group that you had problems with in the 1960s. We are good people. They used to call us “abebiwempe” because we used to pray under papyrus-made structures but now, we have some of the best cathedrals in this country. We have been able to transform communities and youths into responsible citizens,” Bishop Lwere said.
Bishop Lwere however requested President Museveni to consider giving the Born-Again Christians land to establish a church like it was done to their colleagues in the Catholic, Anglican and Muslim faiths during the past governments.
“This is not something that is out of place, but we ask for and consider this as affirmative action so that we also have a home of our own. We pray to Your Excellency that before you leave that seat, you think about us the Balokole,” Bishop Lwere added.
In response, the President promised to find the land.
“I will support you like we handled the issue of registration. Even the problem of land will be solved. But the hills are already taken by other groups. But there’s no problem, we shall support you,” H.E Museveni confirmed.
Bishop Lwere paid tribute to his predecessors including Apostle Alex Mitala and Prof Simeon Kayiwa who served during what he called difficult times and also thanked the incoming Bishop Odongo and his wife for serving under him for the last 13 years.
The consecration activity was led by Elders led by Bishop Tom Okello from the Lango sub-region who thanked President Museveni for the different government programs like the Parish Development Model (PDM) that will ensure that Ugandans don’t remain in poverty. Bishop Okello reminded the President about his pledge of tractors to the National Fellowship of born-again faiths.
Bishop Simon Peter Emiau of the Evangelical Fellowship of Uganda thanked President Museveni for always standing by the truth and setting a very good example of the family institution when he celebrated 50 years of marriage with Maama Janet.
“May God give you a long life to make this nation stronger,” Bishop Emiau said.
Apostle Pauline and her delegation from the United States of America said they were thrilled to come to Uganda after watching President Museveni on YouTube while preaching with boldness.
“Your Excellency we prefer to call you Rev. Museveni,” Pastor Pauline said.
In his remarks, Bishop Odongo noted that his leadership started upon hearing the voice of God on 8th June 2019 and thanked the Born-Again faiths for bringing him into leadership when he was elected on 16th March 2023 as the General Overseer.
Bishop Odongo becomes the first Etesot to hold that position since the formation of the National Fellowship of Born-Again Pentecostal churches in 1990. He replaces Bishop Joshua Lwere who has served for the last 10 years.
He thanked his predecessor Bishop Joshua Lwere whom he has served for the last 13 years and promised to continue to serve and fulfill God’s purposes.
Bishop Odongo also thanked President Museveni for granting the Balokole movement freedom of worship, currently constituting over 8 million believers in Uganda.
He further promised to ensure service-oriented leadership that involves preaching the gospel of going to heaven and also that gospel that carries messages of transformation through emphasizing agriculture and fighting poverty.
“It will also be my work to make sure to empower the church to be able to impact and transform their communities. I encourage you the church to embrace agriculture and wealth creation and I’m praying that God opens the doors for us,” Bishop Odongo said.
Bishop Odongo is now responsible for overseeing all Pentecostal/Born-Again churches in Uganda and the National Fellowship of Born Again- Pentecostal Churches is structured in 15 regions and with 57 provinces across the country.
Bishop Odongo will be deputized by Dr. John Kabuye Kaggwa, Dr. Magezi Africano as the Gen. secretary and the National Treasurer as Pastor Olive Janet Gidudu.
At the same function, President Museveni gifted Bishop Odongo with a brand-new vehicle to help him in evangelization. He also promised to provide cars for all the Bishops of the National Fellowship of Born Again and Pentecostal Churches.
“I will give you the cars, no problem,” he said.
The National Fellowship of Born-Again Pentecostal Churches is an umbrella network of Pentecostal churches, para-church organizations and missionary organizations operating in Uganda. It is registered with the Government of Uganda, as a non-denominational and politically non-partisan.
The fellowship exists primarily as a voice for its membership and to support and nurture the effective growth and development of the Pentecostal movement through networking, capacity building and enabling strategic partnerships.
The ceremony was attended by several Born Again leaders who include, including Prof. Simeon Kayiwa, Apostle Michael Kimuli, Pastor Robert and Mrs. Jessica Kayanja, Apostle Grace Lubega, Bishop Tom Mugerwa, Apostle John Bunjo, Apostle Umar Mulinde and Dr. Sserwadda who represented the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda Rev. Steven Kaziimba Mugalu and all the other seven members of the council of presidents of the Inter Religious Council of Uganda.
Others were Born Again representatives from all the regions of Uganda and outside countries such as the United States, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
Other dignitaries included; Ministers, members of Parliament, Hon. Justice Mike Chibita who administered the oath of allegiance, Army officials and Traditional leaders.