The story of an eighteen year-old born again girl who is said to have been sexually harassed by her one time pastor, Charles Murenzi of the Shining Light Church is sad indeed. When the story first filtered through the local media, it took wind out of my sails.
But whether Murenzi raped the girl or not, I don’t have powers to pass the verdict since I am neither a judge nor a lawyer. Before the law, Murenzi is still an innocent man until proved guilty.
My only concern however is centred on the assistant inspector of police, Rose Iribagiza, in charge of gender based violence at Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID) who was recently quoted as saying the girl’s claims were hard to prove legally.
True. It sounds very hard to scientifically prove whether the girl was indeed defiled or not since the victim took years before she reported her seemingly unbelievable but chilling story.
However, it sounds unfortunate in my view for a police officer of Iribagiza’s calibre to dismiss the girl’s case even before she labours to investigate or summon the accused for questioning.
Its known world over that one can be summoned by the mere fact that his or her name has been mentioned in connection with a committed a crime before even investigations to clear the suspect or implicate him are carried out.
Like I have stated at the beginning, I stand to be corrected because of the little knowledge about issues concerning the law but I believe the first biggest evidence is that the girl is still a live and is able to narrate to police investigators her ordeal.
There could be other witnesses outside there privy to this case or with circumstantial evidence that can act as a clue and help police to sustain the case.
The victim also says of how her colleagues in the same church attempted to enforce a cover-up in order to save the church from collapsing.
This is not new in Born- Again Churches.
The problem with us Christians is that we see many bad things happening in our churches and keep quiet till we have quit and then we talk.
It’s a common to hear even grown up women being raped but never dare report because they want either to protect the church from public ridicule or save their homes.
Lots of dirt including sodomy and pastors fighting over money donated to them is very common nowadays.
Many girls with similar defilement stories have spoken out against the same pastor.
May be it is high time the police checked the life style of our pastors.
The sad story is told of how in 2001 in Uganda, more than 500 members of the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments perished in their church in Kanungu allegedly burnt by their leader, Joseph Kibwetere.
On the fateful day, the church goers said their prayers for hours before the small wooden building were set on fire from inside.
The doors were locked and windows boarded and nailed shut. Everyone inside perished.
Their charred bodies, including 11 children, were later found by authorities.
According to pathologists who examined their remains, they said some were poisoned, others strangled; many had stab wounds and fractured skulls.
These are our churches. Some clergies commit crimes but many times escape with impunity. Are they above the law?
Kibwetere’s church was started in the late 1980s and all people in Kanungu were watching as it recruited as many as 5,000 members in a short period.
No person around bothered to find out what sort of person Kibwetere was.
Had they done so, they would have known that in 1998, Kibwetere was hospitalized for mental illness and, would have warned his followers.
Murenzi’s alleged victims claim the pastor claimed to have visions or that God had told him that girls were sleeping with men outside the church.
That he wanted them to undress to prove to him they had not slept with men.
Even Kibwetere used to tell his followers that he had had a conversation between Jesus and the Virgin Mary!
I cry for our beloved daughters.