KAMPALA: A group of youth have asked human rights lawyer Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi to intervene and help them recover over Shs5 billion allegedly collected from them by Pastor Robert Kayanja of Rubaga Miracle Centre who had promised to help them fight poverty and unemployment.
In a letter dated May 15, Mr Rwakafuuzi tasks Pastor Kayanja, who heads one of the biggest Pentecostal churches in Uganda, to explain the fate of the money to the youth. According to Mr Rwakafuuzi, between May 2015 and December 2015, the pastor grouped the youth into 10 people each and asked them to each contribute Shs500,000.
The youth group was code-named Version 86 Youth for National Transformation, with Pastor Kayanja as its patron.
“These groups were promised funds for youth self-employment in the endeavor to ‘alleviate and eliminate poverty and bring a stop to the unemployment among the youth’. These youth claim that over Shs5 billion as collected from them by M/S Miracle Centre Cathedral,” the letter reads in part.
“The youth now wish to know why they have not received the funds for self-employment as promised. In the alternative, they wish to be informed if indeed preparations are in process to have the funds released to them as promised. Otherwise, the youth concerned, who paid their money to Miracle Centre Cathedral, wish to have their money refunded to them,” the letter adds.
He is yet to respond to the allegations.
Pastor Kayanja has in the past been involved in several controversies. On 31 December 2005, he prophesied that one of the presidential election candidates would die but this did not happen before the election.
In 2006 he was criticised for amassing wealth and building a palace at Gaba, a suburb of Kampala on the shore of Lake Victoria. Pastor Kayanja told critics to mind their own business, saying that the grand house was a marriage gift to his wife.
In 2009, a scandal erupted when Kayanja was accused of sexually abusing two teenage male church members. Other pastors had assisted the teenagers in filing their complaints, which were later withdrawn.
Pastor Kayanja’s supporters accused rivals of seeking to damage his reputation ahead of a visit by American preacher Benny Hinn to the Miracle Centre Cathedral. The police later cleared Kayanja of sodomy.
They also cleared his accusers of charges of conspiracy to damage his reputation.
However, in October 2012 Buganda Road Court fined six people, including pastor Martin Ssempa, 1 million shillings (about $390 US) each and ordered them to do 100 hours of community service, after convicting them of conspiring to destroy Pastor Robert Kayanja’s name and profession.