Tension Among Bisaka's Followers Over Death Rumor

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In Kagadi town many of his followers are seen gathered in groups discussing silently and wondering what is going on as no one could communicate to them whether Bisaka is Dead or not.
Bisaka Owobusobozi

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Tension is high among the followers of Faith of Unity in Kagadi district following unconfirmed reports of the death of their leader, Owobusobozi Desteo Bisaka in Kenya’s capital Nairobi. Bisaka is alleged to have breathed his last at a hospital in Nairobi where he has spent days on treatment.  

In Kagadi town, many of his followers are seen gathered in small groups wondering what could be going on since there is no official communication about Bisaka’s current status. The same somber mood is visible among his followers in Muhorro town council near Bisaka’s palace in Kapyemi where hundreds of people flock for blessings and healing.

Security has sealed off the entrance to the palace. Currently, no one is allowed to access the area unlike in the past where people could freely access the palace. URN couldn’t independently verify the claims of Bisaka’s death. 

Omukwenda Turyamureba, the Head of Communications in the faith of Unity declined to comment on Bisaka’s purported death, saying he was still locked up in a meeting and would get back to our reporter after the meeting.  

Henry Baguma, a close family member dismissed the rumors circulating on social media about the purported death of Bisaka. He said if Bisaka was dead as it is being claimed, the government or his family would have already issued a statement on the matter.  

//Cue in: ”As of now… 

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One of Bisaka's followers at Kapyemi told URN condition of anonymity that they are also hearing about his death but no one has come out to confirm the information.

About Bisaka

He was born on 11 June 1930 in Kitoma-Kiboizi village in Buyanja county, Kibaale district in Western Uganda. His parents were Petero Byombi and Agnes Kabaoora.   Both of them were staunch members of Bujuni Catholic parish in Kagadi district. Bisaka spent little time with his parents as he lived and grew up with his grandparents from the age of eight years.  

His father was a catholic catechist as was his grandfather, Alifonsio Wenkere, who was a pioneer convert at Bujuni Catholic parish.  His grandmother, Martha Nyakaka was also a Catholic convert and a captive in the palace of Mengo where she witnessed the martyrdom of Charles Lwanga and 21 other Ugandan martyrs in the 19thcentury.  

Bisaka grew up and attended Mugalike School where in 1944; he applied to enroll into the Catholic seminary where local priests were being trained.  Failing to be admitted to the Catholic priesthood training program, he went to Nsamizi Teachers College, Mityana, where he trained to become a teacher.

On graduation, he was employed at Muhorro Catholic Primary School, where he taught for 35 years. Like his father and grandfather who were catechists in the Catholic Church, Bisaka was a prominent member of the local church and leader of the parish laity.  He was parish council secretary, a position that gave him access to a high-level decision-making platform in the management of the ritual life of the church.   

Because the ecclesiastic leadership noticed his devotion, he was also appointed as the advisor to the group known as the Legion of Mary Mother of Grace Confraternity.  Here he had to guide the members of the laity in their devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, as well as teach the group elements of Catholic doctrines and liaise between the group’s leadership and parish and diocesan leadership of the Catholic Church.    

Significant in Bisaka’s future ambition and mission was his musical gifts and skills, which led to his appointment into the Catholic diocese of Hoima’s liturgical committee.  As the choirmaster of the parish in Muhorro, he was a composer of liturgical hymns for the church beyond the parish level, a practice that soon brought recognition and popularity to him, but also a grudge.    

The Catholic diocese of Hoima made use of his hymns in its rituals without adequately remunerating him. While Bisaka’s sacred hymn composition started in 1966, it was not until 1975 that a radical change occurred that would ultimately precipitate the formation of the Fountain of Unity.  

In 1975, Bisaka composed a hymn; Nkaikiriza Ruhanga Murungi (My God is good).  As the lyrics of this song indicate, it is theologically meaningful and cheerful–hence its popularity within and outside the Catholic Church in East Africa.  

It is claimed that from the time this song was first used in Catholic liturgy, Bisaka started experiencing unusual vibrations in his hand.  There started coming in his arms a special kind of power whenever he would sing it the song in church, a phenomenon that increased with time and became noticed by a large circle of church members including some of the clerics, who attributed it to the ‘composing of the hymn, Nkaikiriza.   

After five years of trying to understand the spiritual and bodily change that he was experiencing, Bisaka claimed to have heard a voice of God commanding him. “You shall heal people by touching them”.  However, URN could not independently verify this claim.   

For three months Bisaka was hesitant, even afraid and unsure of what to do, but the voice was repeatedly insistent as well. The effective date for the establishment of the Faith of Unity is 22 February 1980 and it is believed that on this day Bisaka reluctantly touched a young woman suffering from severe and debilitating feverish conditions associated with malaria.

She was instantly healed and restored to health.  His sacred duty is to fight Satan and unify humankind through preaching unity, using healing to draw people together and capture their attention resulting in people bringing many sick people to him to be healed by physically touching them.  

For decades since the formation of Faith of Unity, Bisaka has gathered a large following and he is explicitly believed by followers (Abaikiriza) to be God.   The core doctrine of the Faith of Unity is about the divinity of Bisaka.  Soon after his healing activities started, Bisaka had another spiritual experience, which is described by some elders of the movement as a trance-like event where ‘he went to see the Lord of hosts, an experience that lasted for three days.  

From this experience emerged a tripartite conception of the deity of which Bisaka was elevated into godhood with a full title of Omukama Ruhanga Owobusobozi Bisaka, loosely translated as ‘the Lord God of the power of God.  The remaining two personalities of the deity are the Lord God of hosts and the Lord God of holiness. His sacred duty is to fight Satan and unify humankind through preaching unity, using healing to draw people together and capture their attention.  

The Faith of Unity congregation prays every second, 12th and 22nd day of the month. For the rest of the days, each follower develops a list of good things they hope for daily. The group does not believe in the Bible, calling it divisive but use ‘the book of the Faith of Unity’ authored by Owobusobozi and spells out cleaning courtyards, grazing animals, washing, hunting, donating, smiling at friends and praying to God as deeds that can give one eternal life.  

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