Forget about Isingiro, Rwakitura, Rukungiri, Luwero and those other useless places. Bugisu is the place to be if you are looking for strange happenings or real miracles which are not holly rice, 77 dogs, holly timber or holly tea. Hallelujah praise the lord. There had to be something good in that imbalu! The year of healing has come. Time to return home and go into the miracle business!
Martha Leah Nangalama
That evening many people with demons in them were brought to Jesus. And with only a word he forced out the evil spirits and healed everyone who was sick…” (Mathew 8:16, 17)
The same could be said about the situation deep in the villages of Manafwa District where Fred Namoka attracts multitudes of people from all walks of life, who throng areas where he is invited to pray for the sick, and those who are demon possessed.
On a Sunday at midday, when we visited this area, we were welcomed by cries deep in the village of Bunamoka, Makenya Sub County in Manafwa District.
The wails pierced through the banana and coffee plantations. The sight of those that were demon possessed rolling in the earth, wailing, making amends, and cursing was disturbing.
Others crawled on their knees; some ran in different directions and some blindly knocked coffee branches. Others unconsciously gathered sugarcane husks that littered the ground.
They would recover after a while and find themselves in dirty clothing, and were shocked at the streams of tears on their faces. One would mistake the venue for a mourning ground, although there is evidence of a once productive ground which had been made rocky by numerous stampings.
“This is what happens here. The man of God says a single prayer and heals people, delivers them, the lame walk and many leave relieved,” explains Andrew Mabala, a teacher who had accompanied me to the venue.
Mabala narrates: “I was here before. I wanted to appear on pay roll which happened after the apostle prayed for me. When I went back to the school where I teach, I was offered a scholarship and everyone in my family has been blessed.”
There are many like Mabala who are here to seek blessings. They gather under a mango tree in front of a mud house, crowned with rusty iron sheets. This, I am told is Namoka’s father’s house. They wear tired faces, in dire need of a miracle.
Anxiety piles up in the crowd when Namoka enters the house to read invitation letters from different villages. The crowd has waited for about an hour, for that single prayer, one which he had earlier on announced.
The scorching sun pierces through the plantations where most of them seek shelter while they wait. After the prayer, they disperse, perhaps the way they came. Those who are ill lay in the sitting room of the house.
A 70-year old man lies on a mat seemingly half dead, and grimacing in pain. Those who had seen him on his first visit say he came with a strange skin disease that paralysed his entire body.
“His wounds are dried now and he is making effort to walk again,” says an old woman seated in the backyard.
Also, James Kiwama had been brought by relatives on hearing about the miracles; at that time his clothes could stick on his body because of an ulcer which doctors said did not have a medical explanation.
Now the wounds which started in the mouth before spreading on his entire body are drying up and he says he is able to eat, walk and even talk.
Multitudes attract business
The prayer ground also has attracted a number of vendors who sell edibles such as sugarcane, chapatti, mandazi, ice cream, and jolly jus mixtures (for children).
Agasa Namakoye makes chapatis and cooks food which she brings for sale. She sells katogo for between Shs500 and Sh2,000.
She shares: “I started by coming for prayers and on seeing many people decided to make money to fend for myself and grandchildren. The food gets over almost as soon as I start selling but I sometimes go back with chapattis.”
Like Namakoye, Lydia Mulati makes trips to the ground on Saturdays and Sundays to sell mandazi, chapattis and a mixture of maize and beans meal. She says on a good day she walks away with Shs50,000 and sometimes Shs60,000.
Gilbert Yason with three others from Makenya village sell sugarcane on bicycles parked at the venue. They sell from Shs100 to Sh500 and the three bicycles each laden with about 50 sugarcanes head back empty. This perhaps explains the incalculable peels that cover the ground.
The vendors follow the apostle to all gatherings.
Back to the prayers. While I expected a long prayer, probably in tongues, Namoka says a 10-second prayer in a strange language. The crowd replies with an “Amen” and walk away with a lot of hope written on their faces.
But those with little faith crave for a personal prayer.
A woman approaches him, frantically in need of finding her three stolen goats. He responds: “Do not worry because they have not yet been sold off. Go home and they shall return.” With a loud “Amen” and a heavy sigh, she walks away with a bright smile.
Meanwhile, in Bukhofu village, Ikhali where Namoka resided first, there are similar tales of healing and deliverance.
“Are you looking for Fred the prophet, the one who was one time lifted in space and was flying?” asked Wilson Mamuli, a roadside vendor. He said the apostle had been arrested twice on unfounded complaints.
But who is Namoka?
Going by the multitudes, one expects an old, and probably grey haired ‘man of God’ in their midst. The apostle, as Namoka prefers to be called, still clad in a brown shirt and trousers and feet covered in dirt and donned in tyre sandals, finally meets us in the night to share his apostolic journey.
He was born in 1998 to Paul Khaukha Namoka and Petua Wakoli, both peasants. He went to Butiru Christian Day and Boarding school in Butiru before joining its secondary school where he dropped out in Form Two.
“God chose me and like all the other prophets in the Bible, I have been persecuted,” he says.
Namoka insists he was born spiritually through his parents. Between nine and 12 years of age, he says he had a vision of what his mission was.
His mother recounts: “Namoka is the first child in a family of six siblings, and was born at seven months. Since we had no money to go to hospital, we were advised to cover him in cloths and sorghum husks inorder to keep him warm until he made nine months.
“As a child, he was disciplined and was made leader of a Bible study team at his school while in Primary Four,” says Wakoli, slowly, as though she is taking care to say the right things.
Tradition dictated that his father was not meant to see the baby until he made nine months. He was therefore nursed by his mother until the due date. “On that day, several people, like the ones you have seen today came to see him, with gifts and money,” Khaukha recalls, stressing that Namoka was a miracle child.
Khaukha, a retired cook at Crisco schools in Butiru says Namoka started preaching the word of God at the school where he worked.
He then saw him gathering multitudes of people and knew it was God himself who assigned him and as a parent he is happy he gets to see people from all walks of life.
“Sometimes people sleep here in all corners of the house and one can mistake it for a sick bay,” he notes, narrating that at one point he brought an epileptic girl at home and they were worried. Namoka retorts that they thought he had other motives.
He then disappeared from home which left them worried. Namoka recounts that while at school, God ordered him to fast for 41 days and 10 days, so he went to a mountain where he stayed for 100 days.
“That is when I got anointed with Gods power. During that time, there were so many temptations, including people threatening to shoot me,” he says, in a rather firm tone.
After wards, God made him perform two miracles. The first miracle saw him walking in space and the second was flying, which residents of Bukhofu sub-county say they witnessed.
Police becomes his friend
Namoka says that after the police realised he was harmless, they left him do his work peacefully. He says he cannot move to any village without police protection.
Namoka does not intend to build a church because he believes apostles are supposed to move about in the world praying for people. “That is why recently I was invited to state house to pray for the president,” he claims.
DAILY MONITORThe man who claims to perform miracles