Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Man In The White Robe Who Came To Preach

 Chap in White Frock and Beret departed Uganda today. I’m not catholic so I didn’t get invited to any of the festivities. I thought about crashing the Namugongo gig, but with everybody wanting to be there – to catch a glimpse of him or at least try to get a personal blessing, the human traffic and security restrictions put paid to that plot.

Penny, the affable and astute editor who oversees my column, would have preferred that I not refer to him as Chap in White Frock and Beret, but Pope, and also show some columnist/editor goodwill by writing something positive to commemorate his visit. Tight, but I’ll try because I have issues with religion. 

When one of my tights - Expat Dave got married a few years ago, Lubowa Based Pastor saw it as his chance to earn mega bucks.

You see, he always had a ‘prayer-rate-card’ with him. To pray for the couple at their home would cost say sh3m. If the couple went to his church, it would be sh2m. The prayer-rate-card also had additional extras like a fee for praying for the wedding gifts. Hmm!

Philip takes his religion seriously that when Audi Pastor from South London calls and tells him "the lord needs you", Philip will be there. Apart from physically being there, so is his monthly pay packet and all because of something called ‘tithe’ which, eats up 70 per cent of the packet.

I have met Audi Pastor and I want to be like him for he’s a smoothie if I ever saw one. The way he drapes his suit jacket over his shoulders – eh, too hard. Most importantly, he has the gift of the gab – the ability to make the most tight-fisted congregation open their wallets and purses and drop small fortunes into the offertory bag.

At the end of the service, while his congregation wait for the bus, he slides into his ride - which by now, you have guessed is a top of the range Audi, complete with charcoal back sport rims and more loud speaker decibels than Club Silk can muster and off he drives - not to gospel music, but to hip hop and with not a wave to his now poorer congregation.

Meanwhile in August this year, Abuja Pastor claimed that in the dead of the night, God woke him and asked: “You are not helping women without children to conceive. Why?” I was not there when this supposed conversation took place and if it was a phone call, WhatsApp or a Twitter message, so we’ll just take him at his word.

But if the conversation did happen, I think what God had in mind, was prayer - telling her not to despair because he (God) has a plan for her.

But Abuja Pastor interpreted the conversation as: “God has directed me to you and told me to do the ‘needful’ seeing Husband is seemingly 'unable' to provide.”

Oh yeah, Woman did get pregnant – and so did many others until Husbands woke up and over a fufu lunch, realised they had all along been taken for a ride and run him out of town.

However, Chap in White Frock and White Beret is different. There are many people who do believe in him as God’s topmost envoy on earth. He’s also scandal free and not done anything as outrageous as Abuja Pastor, Lubowa Pastor or Audi Pastor so I guess, there’s hope that one day, religion and I will see eye-to-eye.

I shouldn’t be doing this, but what the heck. Before I run out of column space, a ‘big up’ to and yes, I think I am allowed to be biased for once - to the peeps who behind the scenes toiled to make the visit one to remember - Vision Group CEO Robert Kabushenga, who toiled to turn Namugongo Shrines into what it was, along with Susan Nsibirwa, Louis Jadwong and Carol Natkunda whose countless tweets kept us in formed and not forgetting OPP – and I tried to count his tweets over 340.

And if you were at Munyonyo, Namugongo or Kololo and walked away feeling that Pope had delivered a highly spiritual and cleansing message from God, then I am really happy for you and ask if you swung in a good word for me. Did you?