Evangelism Exposed

“Jesus wept.” Joh 11:35

City pastor cited in child abuse case


PEACE Muhindo is helpless and paralysed on the left side thanks to a spinal cord injury. She writhes in pain on her Ward 2B bed at Mulago Hospital where she was dumped and has been admitted since June 26.

The 15-year-old former street child was only helped when FIDA, an association of women lawyers came to her rescue earlier this month and took over her medical bills.

FIDA lawyer Barbra Bawetera said her organisation was tipped by a Good Samaritan. Now the Police are investigating Pastor Irene Manjeri Nalongo whom the girl accused of assault.

However, two months after the incident, the Police are yet to make any arrests.

The head of the professional standards unit, John Ndungutse, said detectives were investigating the way the case has been handled.

The pastor, according to Muhindo, instructed her guards to beat her up so as to “cast out demons” from her.

Manjeri is the founder of Bethel Healing Centre Ministries, which owns a string of churches and orphanages. She is a senior pastor at the church located in Kitovu, Kanjjansi, off Kampala-Entebbe highway. She runs a branch at the former Pride Theatre on Namirembe Road.

Muhindo had lived in Manjeri’s Bethel Orphanage where she had been admitted since 2005.

The girl said after the beating, she was dumped at Butabika Mental Hospital on October 17, 2007, where she lived for nine months.

Muhindo told the Police she was forcefully taken to the hospital on Manjeri’s orders.

In support of this, Butabika’s senior medical social worker, Justus Twesigye, said Muhindo has never been mentally unstable.

“Instead, she was physically abused and dumped in Butabika.”

The Police, he said, insisted that Muhindo must be admitted. “We assessed her and found she was not mentally sick.”

In a reaction, Manjeri told Bukedde, a New Vision sister paper and leading Luganda daily, that Muhindo fought with two other children in 2007 and got “severely injured”.

After treatment, Manjeri added, Muhindo was taken to Butabika when she showed signs of “mental instability”.

She said Muhindo’s father, Simon Kisembo, a Police officer, lives in Nsambya Barracks.

Muhindo, Manjeri said, sneaked back to the orphanage but later “disappeared”.
The pastor said nothing about the assault.

However, a Mulago medical social worker, John Baptist Ebaat, said when Manjeri discovered that Muhindo was back in the orphanage, she ordered the guard to beat her up.

“The guard beat her until she was unconscious.”

She was taken to Katwe Police Station, which referred her to Mulago.

Katwe district Police commander Aggrey Nshekanabo yesterday said the girl went to the station to look for her father but the officers failed to find him.

Muhindo, he said, went away but later in the day, came back “claiming she had been beaten”.

Manjeri’s husband Dr. Vincent Katongole admitted his wife had talked to him about the girl but placed the responsibility on the guard and his employer.

“The lawyers of the security company where the guard comes from are handling the case,” he said.

“The guard was employed by a private security firm and they take responsibility.”

Mulago spokesman Elifaz Sekabira said although Muhindo was “completely paralysed”, she had received death threats.

The hospital, he added, had consequently asked for Police protection.

August 26, 2008 - Posted by | Uganda

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