The rumours are no more; Pastor Augustine Yiga popularly known as Abizzaayo’ is dead. The less educated pastor of Rivival Christian Church Kawaala in Kampala’s Lubaga division earned fame out of his claim to possess powers that cast evil or witchcraft back to wherever it originated from – thus the name, Abizzaayo.
The controversial pastor Yiga was pronounced dead on Monday night after about three weeks in hospital.
Farouq Ssemaganda, the head of communication at the church owned ABS TV, Pastor Yiga was first admitted at Life Link hospital where he was diagnosed with liver complications.
He was transferred to Nsambya hospital where breathed his last around 10 pm on Monday.
Yiga was loved and loathed in equal measure because of his humorous preaching style, and often came under scrutiny when some accused him of neglecting the children they sired with him.
Several members of his church said that they will miss his fun-filled preaching sessions such as ‘Kiki Kyoliffa Tewerabidde’ loosely translated as what will you not forget till death, a session through which his flock share bizarre occurrences in their lives for possible remedies and blessings.
He would often task the congregants to demonstrate or illustrate how the weird things happened. He would also ask them to reveal the identities of the people they think are behind their predicament.
Alice Mbabazi has been an usher in Christian Revival Church for over five years. She described Yiga’s preaching as enjoyable as he often engaged the audience with illustrations where it was necessary to ensure the audience grasped the message.
Bright Muyingo, who is also a preacher in Nabweru, first met Yiga in 1998, and in him, he saw a man so determined to succeed since his youthful days.
Muyingo is not happy with people who castigate Yiga for his mistakes. Instead of judging the deceased, Muyingo said, people should always pray for each other and should be touched when a person dies but not to criticize people for their life misdeeds.
Yiga’s life hasn’t been rosy as he has been in and out of jail for various reasons. In March this year, Yiga was arrested for allegedly uttering false information and spreading harmful propaganda regarding the spread of the novel Coronavirus disease (Covid-19), which had just been confirmed in Uganda.
Police accused Yiga of using his ABS TV to declare that there was no Coronavirus in Africa because no deaths had been registered at the time.
The footage of his video recording about COVID-19 went viral on social media as it was widely shared on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.
In February 2019, Yiga was arrested by Kawempe police station on allegations of raping and impregnating a female worshipper in his church.
His arrest didn’t go down well with his followers who staged a protest at Kawempe police station dismissing the accusations against the pastor who was picked up shortly after his return from South Africa.
He was released after he accepted to take a DNA test to establish the paternity of the child in question. However, the case ended prematurely as it never reached court.
In September 2014, a woman dragged Yiga to Nabweru Magistrate’s court for allegedly raping and impregnating her.
Brenda Nalubega accused Yiga of forcing her into sex and infecting her with HIV when she visited his church for prayers and counseling.
At the time of the suit, Nalubega had been evicted from her rented room together with her child. Yiga later committed himself to look after Nalubega’s son and provide a monthly stipend of Shs 150,000.
He was sued again in October 2015 when Nalubega accused him of backtracking on his promise to provide for the child. Yiga agreed to resume the payment of the monthly fee. He was whisked away from inquisitive journalists by a special hire taxi.
Nalubega died in 2017 after battling unknown illness for some time.
Yiga was born on April 25, 1976, at Mpaama village in Bukomansimbi District. His mother, Elizabeth Kwagala and father Joseph Matovu died in 2018 and 1995 respectively.
Yiga started his church in Kiwuunya in 2004 and relocated to Kawaala in 2005 where he established Christian Revival Church.
Yiga, who once a Kadongokamu singer, used his music skills to prop up several music artists including Maggie Kayima alias Nabbi Omukazzi, Hassan Nduggwa and Benah Namisinga.