Controversial self-styled city pastor Augustine Yiga alias Abizzaayo (one who returns witchcraft to sender), has reportedly abandoned his flock and relocated to South Africa amidst controversies. The proprietor of the Revival Christian Church Kawaala in the outskirts of Kampala is also the owner of ABS Television (Abizzaayo Broadcasting Services).
Although he is known to minister in Luganda, the video ministry posts he places on his Facebook wall are recorded in English. Although he seems uncomfortable with the language, it seems the video and his use of miracles have appealed to his new followers in Pretoria West, South Africa. Yiga is known for attracting followers with claims that he possessed powers to exorcise evil spirits (witchcraft) and return them to the senders.
Sources close to him within the church have said he bequeathed his wealth, including his unfinished church, ABS and a few other things to his elder son, Andrew Jjengo, who is now in charge. Sources also reveal that Yiga mortgaged most of his property including his house in Mengo to acquire quick money from money lenders, which he badly needed to establish himself in South Africa.
However, he told his followers that he had gotten a revelation from God demanding that he changes location. However, it is said he was running away from a number of accusations connecting him to a series of alleged crimes.
It is these accusations, sources say that cost him some followers, which dwindled his flock. His earlier attempts to flee to South Africa were frustrated by a fellow pastor in Pretoria, who conned of millions of money. But Yiga still had a lot of domestic financial problems. The music band he had formed, the Revival Band, where he had recruited singers including Hajjati Madina, the Bibuuza singer and others, collapsed and the majority abandoned him.
The TV station is now managed by his close associate, Richard Kimbowa, a traditional herbalist. Although Jjengo insists that Kimbowa was appointed to manage the station, other sources reveal that Kimbowa actually owns 40% shares he acquired after Yiga allegedly failed to pay back loans he acquired from him. Kimbowa is also said to have bought his house, which Yiga had named mbizaayo, located in Bulange Zone A in Rubaga division.
Sources say negotiations were still on for Yiga to sell the remaining shares at a tune of sh650m, although the pastor has demanded that it retains religious programmes on Friday and Sunday. It is said Yiga commissioned the men to register his TV station and acquire space for his new church and due to the many trips he made to the ‘found land’, most of the money went to waste. During this time, he fell sick and was bedridden for some time
Yiga’s Criminal Cases
In 2015, several women turned up with claims of rape and failure to provide for children he had fathered. One woman, Brenda Nalubega, accused the pastor of sexually molesting her. She conceived and later gave birth to boy, (name withheld) who was eight years old then.
In a desperate move, Nalubega tried to seek help from the pastor in vain, until she reported a case of child neglect to FIDA, but Yiga denied until they ordered him to carry out a DNA test. Although he finally accepted responsibility, he defaulted on remitting money on a monthly basis and the mother took the case to Nabweru Court.
She also told court that the pastor took advantage of her when she went to seek blessings ahead of her introduction (kwanjula) ceremony. Court ordered Yiga to remit a monthly upkeep fees of sh150,000 But Nalubega, through her lawyers, appealed to the High Court to revise the figure from sh150,000 to sh800,000, which the pastor first resisted.
High Court ruled in her favour, but she became too frail and was admitted to Mulago Hospital with tuberculosis and other complications. She said she had been infected with HIV. She later died, after a prolonged illness. She was buried in Butambala