Perspective on arrest of outspoken Ugandan pastor, ex-presidential candidate, arrested for ‘promoting sectarianism’

Former presidential candidate Joseph Kabuleta at Nakawa Chief Magistrate’s court on November 30, 2022 where he was charged with promoting sectarianism before he was remanded to Luzira prison. He was released on bail yesterday after spending a fortnight in jail (PHOTO: Bubaker Lubowa/Monitor)

Advocate Evelyne Naikoba team leader of Crownel Co. Ltd. a legal advocacy firm in Kampala, Uganda, focuses on the recent arrest of pastor-politician Joseph Kabuleta who she suggests is in trouble for ‘speaking truth to power’

Joseph Kizza Kabuleta (born March 17, 1972) is a Ugandan pastor, journalist, sports analyst, and politician who contested for the office of the president of Uganda in the 2021 presidential poll as an independent candidate. He is also the founder of Watchman Ministries, a ministry dedicated to teaching Bible prophecy and the End Times and preparing the saints for the soon return of Jesus Christ. 

Over the years, Joseph has become a favourite of many owing to his brutal honesty in defending the sanctity of spiritual freedoms of the Body of Christ and by extension other religious factions. In 2019, he spearheaded the move against challenging the oppressive National Religious Faith-based Organisations Policy that sought to infringe on Ugandans’ right to practice the religion of their choice, manifest its practices and join a religious body of their choice and subsequently petitioned court over the same.

As someone also interested in politics, and governance issues, Joseph has since created room for himself at the political table and become a dominant voice that cannot be ignored. From his Joseph Kabuleta Weekly Rants on Facebook to currently presiding over a political party, Joseph continually applies himself to biblical spiritual principles as he dissects various national issues in view of his central political message which is financial liberation for all.

From March 2020, Joseph was one of many critical voices who called on government to lift the arbitrary lockdown restrictions arguing that the lockdowns did not benefit Ugandans, especially the majority who struggle to put meals on their table but did benefit the rich. Uganda imposed lockdowns and a curfew in early 2020 at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and only eased them in January 2022, making it the longest-running Covid restrictions of any African country. 

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Joseph has also used his varied platforms to pronounce his stand against mandatory vaccination, arguing that Ugandans must be given a choice due to the vaccines being in the trial stages and unproven to date. In fact, during one of his weekly press conferences, Josph brought to light the plight of a 14-year-old teenager who suffered multiple organ failure as a result of forced Covid vaccination that eventually led to his death. This incident aroused a public outcry against the planned forced vaccination of teenagers and subsequently pushed government to retract its plans to continue a vaccination roll-out for children. Joseph has equally expressed his concerns and warned Ugandans against taking the recent Ebola trial vaccines for fear of unknown long-term side effects.

Albeit, having an unsuccessful bid in an election marred with glaring electoral irregularities, Joseph Kabuleta, relentless in his pursuit, continually proves his heart for service, genuine love and commitment to the betterment of Uganda. He remains the only former presidential candidate that has since kept tabs on the affairs of Uganda. His patriotism led him to establish “N.E.E.D” (National Economic Empowerment Dialogue) — a platform that he frequently uses to propagate his ideals and solutions to a refined Uganda. He is of the view that Uganda is endowed with various resources such as a good climate for agriculture, tourism destinations and minerals, all of which can be used to change the lives of the populace. N.E.E.D has since transitioned into a political party with a main agenda to empower people economically.

Following his steadfast involvement in redefining the political landscape of Uganda, Joseph was rounded up by unknown plain-clothed operatives from his party offices on Novermber 28 and later arraigned before court on charges of promoting sectarianism contrary to section 41 of the Penal Code Act (as amended) before being remanded to Luzira prison until December 14. This arrest came immediately after he had addressed a press conference where he spoke about the recent attacks on security installations and theft of guns in the country.

It was alleged by police authorities that Joseph had dishonoured summons, hence ordering his arrest. However, it was revealed, through his lawyers, that despite initially being served with defective police summons on November 4, Joseph’s attempts to cooperate with the police to have this anomaly rectified in order for him to appear and make a statement yielded nothing.

The offence of sectarianism has for long been conveniently used by governments to rein in on dissenting voices that threaten to tip the scales through an expose of the imbalanced sharing of the national cake. From serving as a politicians’ trap to a media freedoms muzzle, sectarianism charges have similarly been mindlessly slapped against other popular Ugandans including journalists, entertainers and other politicians. 

It appears, Joseph’s only crime is wearing Uganda’s heart on his sleeves. Speaking truth to power is not hate. We stand with such a man of great conviction that will go to any lengths to realise God’s vision for a prosperous pearl of Africa.

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One Comment

  1. Beautiful articles… very articulate writing.