By The Rwandan Analyst
Recently a priest of Rwamagana parish was caught with 400 million of Rwandan francs allegedly keeping them for a cousin while it was stolen by a gang of thieves. Previously, a group of thieves had organized a burglary at a pastor residing in Kimironko and had stolen 70,000 euros from him. addressing the press, he hid his face and begged them not to reveal his name or his religious sect for fear that believers would ask him to account for the origin of this wealth, if it did not come from obviously not their offerings. Lastly, Apostle Dr Paul Gitwaza the head of the Authentic Word Ministries a.k.a Zion Temple was summoned by the Rwanda investigation bureau for a case involving his role in the extortion of money belonging to a Congolese woman by her pastors Rugema Gad and Rugwizangoga whom he had guaranteed. The latter will be subjugated to a provisional detention process but freed seemingly under bribes because till now this DRC woman has not yet got her money.
In 2015, a DRC woman named Mamisa Sekikombo who also detains rwandan citizenship and currently residing at Rubavu was in contact with gitwaza and the two pastors in which she helped them to buy gold and diamond in Kasai where she originates. over time, they invited her to bring her funds because this business was prospering; she accepted and gave them 22 thousand US dollars and this transaction was carried out in the presence of the apostle Gitwaza who vouched for his pastors. Fearing for her money, she demanded a contract which was signed by Rugema Gad, the others being witnesses.
From then on, they disappeared and it was not until 2018 that she saw them in Nyabugogo; they tried to escape but she called upon the police officers who were patrolling around; they offered her 2000 dollars and promised to pay her the rest as soon as possible. As they still did not comply with their contractual commitments, she seized the Rwandan investigation bureau which forwarded the file to the public prosecution and the file reached the base court for a hearing of provisional detention. Paster Rugema Gad was granted provisional liberty and later on the trial on the merits convicted him for fraud and sentenced him to 2 years of imprisonment and ordered him to pay back the due amount.
This case among others proves enough the real face of our religious authorities.
With the case file RDP 009/2018/TB/KGRMA, the judge freed the pastor Rugema Gad therefore disappointing all the expectations of the lady victim of fraud while in general provisional detention is a good way of coercion and such a detention may have pushed this dishonest pastor to reimburse the debt so that he may be allowed to practice his profession and this may have avoided a bad image against religious sect which is benefitting from a large reputation countrywide and in the region. This judgment satisfied the claimant but astonishingly it was not enforced; not only the incriminated pastor is not imprisoned but also, he did not pay any penny to the lady.
-Justice in the sights
The lady impatient of this situation resorted to the government members and wrote to the Head of State who had granted her the Rwandan citizenship. Aware of those remedies instituted by the unfortunate woman, the president of the intermediate court of NYARUGENGE Mr. UDAHEMUKA Adolphe wrote to her a warning preventing her from making such recourse pretending that it is not necessary that all the authorities examine her case. This concern from the President of intermediate court leads any analyst to three considerations. First, as the amount involved is attracting, the judge was bribed and decided to….second,
some worshipers are assured that God will shower them with blessings and pay for their bank loans, luring them into acts that violate their human rights such as fasting for a long period of time, hurting the body like burning themselves so that they suffer like Jesus. some pastors lure barren women into sexual activities with false promises that they will give birth. Gitwaza, who is the Founder and International President of Authentic Ministries and senior pastor at the Kicukiro-based Zion Temple, told worshipers recently that: “I don’t know if in this country there’s a prophet greater than me. I am not boasting and may God forgive me if I come across as boastful, but I don’t know if you have a prophet like me in this country or Africa”.
“Maybe another will come, but as long as I am still alive, you will never find one. Go and look for them, then tell me if you find one. I am telling you the truth, you will understand this when I am no longer here”. On Sunday, September 23, 2018, Bishop Rugagi of Redeemed Gospel Church urged worshipers to buy his handbook, which he claimed contains prophecies that would happen from September to December 31. He said those who will buy the books are guaranteed material prosperity, successful marriages among other promises as evidence of God’s favours.
Facing such statements, any reasoning analyst may easily find out malicious plans to attract the crowd in order to be able to extort funds from them on the promise of false miracles and it works perfectly in a Rwandan society emerging from the genocide where recourse to God serves as a psychological remedy, a sort of counselling.
Even if the right of worship is legally guaranteed, the public have to be vigilant about the growing malpractices in churches, where apostles, bishops, prophets exploit their naivety and commit against them a series of crimes such as sexual harassment; fraud; breach of trust and other offences under coverage of their social positions. Unfortunately, the staff of judicial institutions such as investigators, prosecutors and judges attracted by bundles offered by these crooks in cassocks as a form of corruption do not relieve the population against these scams rampant throughout the multitude of religious sects. To what Saint should we devote ourselves?