Green Brown and white Ribbons criss-cross the toasty taupaline, they are certainly no work of a professional decoartor, but there is something starker…one half of the congregation is made up of Issa Massia Believers. They are as distinct as aboriginals, as real as gypsies. Their women do not treat their hair and the wedding service morphs, intermittently, between sermons and typical wedding motions.
The bridal party arrive in parts – the groom escorted by a ‘mobile choir’ reminiscent of the Charismatic Catholic Church, almost fox-trotting. The MC promises a sermon,in one of his n-part series. Everything he says registers in my theological memory, except he won’t say one thing explicitly: Jesus Christ. Instead they call him Issa – still, he is Lord of Lords and King over all. A very conservative group of people – my neighbour doesn’t know where they pray from.
Now I hear something familiar, tis that choir again – and that can only be the Bride! I only pray her make-up doesn’t smudge let alone melt – but wait up, Issa Massia women do no Make-up! Pretty silky white dress, veiled innocence, I can understand why my muko is after such a jewel…
…Now that both bride n groom are here, I guess we can start. But something else has gripped the crowd, and all i see is some indistinct activity near a Landcruiser. Apostle Prof. Christopher Besweri Kaswabuli is a tall and well built man. He is cutting sleek dark sunglasses and has arrived in a chauffered Toyota Landcruiser, wife-in-tow. He is the main celebrant, and from the look of things, carrys the airs of the spiritual head of this sect. He is smaaaarrt in cotton-white n certainly looks angelic…
Back to the MC and his 4th part in a series – Preaching at the Wrong Time – The crowd seems bored n hungry (yours truly inclusive) and the choir has to sing for the preacherman to come. But this is no ordinary song, its a special song, laced with the Preacherman’s autobiography. From the song, I learn that he was born in 1939 and that he had a tough child hood. 1946 he started school and dropped out soon due to his parent’s poverty. 1963’s tough times led him to salvation and in 1965,under a tree, while in devotion received his calling…he started evangelism right away and has preached the world over…Thru challenges, scorn and all manner of persecution,he has persevered. 1975, while at duty, he was arrested n detained,only released at God’s Mercy. Yess! I have garnered all this fron a song. Ingenius!
Listening to Kaswabuli, he’s got a commanding Kisoga baritone, and scanning thru the congregation, he sure commands a lot of respect. Time to listen…
(1 hr later, and in absolute disbelief)
This is the single most sustained attack on all religions, with the most lethargic mix of pride, self-justification and patronization. This man has not preached a single message since 145pm, rather has manned an exhibition of all manner of wrong/fault with all religious organizations, even using the local daily ‘Kamunye’ as justification of fraudulent acts of pastors. The non-sect crowd is so incessed that at one point,there was a chorus ‘we are tired’…to which, and quite expectedly,the preacherman has responded wit fire n brimstone!!! He clearly boasts of his own salvation…and his language and tonation lack discreetness n tact
I expected to learn about this sect,and what their core-values are. I expected to learn abt the foundations of their faith. Am afraid, the sustained attack on other religions is certainly no means to draw followers. He has not spared pastor’s clothes (calling them cheap road-side suits) and shoes (dubbed bi-shoes, ask a luganda speaker next to you). Perhaps what breaks my heart even more, is his attack on the simple confession prayer – which he describes as senseless parrotting. He seems to enjoy a percieved praise from his congregation, and constantly boasts how pastors fear him – I think even if he meant respect, his tone n language certainly sends fear. He clearly hates the Catholic Church and makes reference of the Pope’s suit at the ICC.
Thanks to this gospel, the heavens have now unleashed their payload…and frankly, its more refreshing than it knows!
This is the juicy part…Nuptials! And, as fate would have it, we shall have more of Mr. Preacherman.
Preacherman rubbishes wedding rings,insists tis (and they, are) barbaric. He insists,he is not here to unite the couple, just to bless them. He says the day they proposed is the day they were united. He insists that rings were not there in the garden of eden, and only started with pagan religion. An incessed lady retorts – even clothes were not there yet u wear them! Whoever does that (gives rings) is fuel for hell… this is very phenomenal, I can’t help wonder why this man is not on NTV’s ‘Tuwaye’…yet.
Preacherman, flanked by his london-based son and escorted by choir, has walked to bridal tent. this is after asking both sets of parents if they release their child into the marriage institution. He walked over so he could lead them back for a paparrazzi moment. One of the highlights of the day, the groom is speaking…The groom’s speech ends with a classic, Ladies & Gentlemen, I give you Mrs. Grace Mujisha…his vows were simple, memorable, sincere and included a critical message for all marriages – leave and cleave –
This man revels in his acts, for the second time,he says how he’s never insulted or beaten his wife. Too perfect for earth,huh? he says he gives no marriage certificates because Adam and Eve got none. He insists, what unites man n woman is the spirit of God. As he prays, he asks all who wish for his blessing to go to the couple, and I must admit,my hesitance has the better of me. I do hear the words of his prayers, and I identify with them,but I can’t get my spirit to agree with his – atleast on account of what I have seen and heard. I do sincerely wish the couple the best of the future, and all God’s blessings BUT I have to hand it to Kaswabuli – he is quite a mental handful.
Now I have to decide whether to stay to partake of the meal he is going to be asked to bless….despite my hunger pangs!
The rest of the afternoon went on without incident, except the queue at the preacherman’s feet. In typical community style, the food was more than enough, and if i had forgotten, there was no glamour in form of maids and little kids.
This was supposed to be a wedding, i sure got more than i bargained for, but i was happy to have come. For such a time as this, am happy to know, I will not be a follower of Issa Massia – at the very least, not under the leadership of Kaswabuli – no pun intended!