Police Moves to Deregister Church led by Lakwena's Father

3573 Views Gulu, Uganda

In short
Patrick Jimmy Okema, the Aswa regional police spokesperson says the church is involved in mysterious activities, which involve strange rituals.

Authorities in Gulu are considering deregistering New Jerusalem Tabernacle ministries, which was started by Severino Okoya Kiberu, the father of the late ex-rebel leader Alice Lakwena. There are more than 500 worshippers in New Jerusalem Tabernacle ministries mostly drawn from Northern Uganda.
Patrick Jimmy Okema, the Aswa regional police spokesperson says the church is involved in mysterious activities, which involve strange rituals. He says the church leadership discourages its followers from seeking treatment from hospital and instead encourages them to go for healing.
Okema says Gulu district local government is working with police to deregister the church.
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On Friday last week, a woman identified as Josephine Akidi, the former wife of David Akena died at New Jerusalem worship center, which is found at Kony Paco. Following the death of Akidi, police picked up Severino Okoya, the head of the church and her daughter Dorine Adokorach on Saturday. The duo was released on police bond on Sunday due to the poor health of Okoya.
Okoya claims that he was chosen by God in the eighties to spread his word, adding that, he had a vision while in prison to save the world by preaching the gospel of the new heaven and world. He says those planning to close his church are ignorant about the word of God. Okoya explains that his church doesn’t discriminate against believers basing on their faith provided they practice love and forgiveness.
He however, says that he encourages his followers to seek medical help when their condition worsens adding that, as a leader he knows which kind of situations to pray and which ones to refer to hospital.
Professor Isaac Newton Ojok, a member of the church says it is only God who can reveal the truth of their ministry to the leaders and appeals to the authorities to reconsider their decision to close the church saying it is blessing and healing many souls.
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Ojok met Okoy while on death row in Luzira prison. He says during their interaction Okoya, prophesied that Ojok would be released despite the fact that he was on death row, which came to pass. Professor Ojok was captured by government forces during the last battle between the Holy Spirit Movement and then NRA at Magamaga in Jinja. The chemistry professor was also the education minister in the Obote II two government.


About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.