high among the followers of Faith of Unity in Kagadi district following
unconfirmed reports of the death of their leader, Owobusobozi Desteo Bisaka in
Kenya’s capital Nairobi. Bisaka is alleged to have breathed his last at a
hospital in Nairobi where he has spent days on treatment.
town, many of his followers are seen gathered in small groups wondering what
could be going on since there is no official communication about Bisaka’s current
status. The same somber mood is visible among his followers in Muhorro town
council near Bisaka’s palace in Kapyemi where hundreds of people flock for
blessings and healing.
Security has sealed off the entrance to the
palace. Currently, no one is allowed to access the area unlike in the past
where people could freely access the palace. URN couldn’t independently verify
the claims of Bisaka’s death.
Omukwenda Turyamureba, the Head of Communications
in the faith of Unity declined to comment on Bisaka’s purported death, saying he
was still locked up in a meeting and would get back to our reporter after the
Henry Baguma, a close family member dismissed the rumors
circulating on social media about the purported death of Bisaka. He said if
Bisaka was dead as it is being claimed, the government or his family would have already issued a
statement on the matter.
//Cue in: ”As of now…
Cue out:…would be official,”//
One of Bisaka's followers at Kapyemi told URN condition
of anonymity that they are also hearing about his death but no one has come out
to confirm the information.
He was born on 11 June 1930 in Kitoma-Kiboizi village in
Buyanja county, Kibaale district in Western Uganda. His parents were Petero
Byombi and Agnes Kabaoora. Both of them were staunch members of Bujuni Catholic
parish in Kagadi district. Bisaka spent little time with his parents as he
lived and grew up with his grandparents from the age of eight years.
His father was a catholic catechist as was his grandfather, Alifonsio Wenkere,
who was a pioneer convert at Bujuni Catholic parish. His grandmother,
Martha Nyakaka was also a Catholic convert and a captive in the palace of Mengo
where she witnessed the martyrdom of Charles Lwanga and 21 other Ugandan
martyrs in the 19thcentury.
Bisaka grew up and attended Mugalike School where in 1944; he applied to enroll
into the Catholic seminary where local priests were being trained. Failing
to be admitted to the Catholic priesthood training program, he went to Nsamizi
Teachers College, Mityana, where he trained to become a teacher.
On graduation, he was employed at Muhorro Catholic Primary
School, where he taught for 35 years. Like his father and grandfather who were catechists in the Catholic Church,
Bisaka was a prominent member of the local church and leader of the parish
laity. He was parish council secretary, a position that gave him access
to a high-level decision-making platform in the management of the ritual life
of the church.
Because the ecclesiastic leadership noticed his devotion, he was also appointed
as the advisor to the group known as the Legion of Mary Mother of Grace
Confraternity. Here he had to guide the
members of the laity in their devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, as
well as teach the group elements of Catholic doctrines and liaise between the
group’s leadership and parish and diocesan leadership of the Catholic Church.
Significant in Bisaka’s future ambition and mission was his musical gifts and
skills, which led to his appointment into the Catholic diocese of Hoima’s
liturgical committee. As the choirmaster of the parish in Muhorro, he was
a composer of liturgical hymns for the church beyond the parish level, a
practice that soon brought recognition and popularity to him, but also a
The Catholic diocese of Hoima made use of his hymns in its rituals without
adequately remunerating him. While Bisaka’s sacred hymn composition started in
1966, it was not until 1975 that a radical change occurred that would
ultimately precipitate the formation of the Fountain of Unity.
In 1975, Bisaka composed a hymn; Nkaikiriza Ruhanga Murungi (My God is
good). As the lyrics of this song indicate, it is theologically
meaningful and cheerful–hence its popularity within and outside the Catholic
Church in East Africa.
It is claimed that from the time this song was first used in Catholic liturgy,
Bisaka started experiencing unusual vibrations in his hand. There started coming in his arms a special
kind of power whenever he would sing it the song in church, a phenomenon that
increased with time and became noticed by a large circle of church members
including some of the clerics, who attributed it to the ‘composing of the hymn,
After five years of trying to understand the spiritual and bodily change that
he was experiencing, Bisaka claimed to have heard a voice of God commanding
him. “You shall heal people by touching them”. However, URN could not
independently verify this claim.
For three months Bisaka was hesitant, even afraid and unsure of what to do, but
the voice was repeatedly insistent as well. The effective date for the
establishment of the Faith of Unity is 22 February 1980 and it is believed that
on this day Bisaka reluctantly touched a young woman suffering from severe and
debilitating feverish conditions associated with malaria.
She was instantly healed and restored to health. His
sacred duty is to fight Satan and unify humankind through preaching unity,
using healing to draw people together and capture their attention resulting in
people bringing many sick people to him to be healed by physically touching
For decades since the formation of Faith of Unity, Bisaka has gathered a large
following and he is explicitly believed by followers (Abaikiriza) to be God.
The core doctrine of the Faith of Unity is about the divinity of Bisaka.
Soon after his healing activities
started, Bisaka had another spiritual experience, which is described by some
elders of the movement as a trance-like event where ‘he went to see the Lord of
hosts, an experience that lasted for three days.
From this experience emerged a tripartite conception of the deity of which
Bisaka was elevated into godhood with a full title of Omukama Ruhanga
Owobusobozi Bisaka, loosely translated as ‘the Lord God of the power of God.
The remaining two personalities of the deity are the Lord God of hosts
and the Lord God of holiness. His sacred duty is to fight Satan and unify
humankind through preaching unity, using healing to draw people together and
capture their attention.
The Faith of Unity congregation prays every second, 12th and 22nd day of the
month. For the rest of the days, each follower develops a list of good things
they hope for daily. The group does not believe in the Bible, calling it
divisive but use ‘the book of the Faith of Unity’ authored by Owobusobozi and
spells out cleaning courtyards, grazing animals, washing, hunting, donating,
smiling at friends and praying to God as deeds that can give one eternal life.