Friday, March 19, 2010



By John Gerezani

Sometime in the not so distant past, this column wrote on men and women of the cloth caught in the throes of criminality. I feel it is only prudent that l share with you another farce that is being perfected and propagated by a small crop of wily conmen masquerading as televangelists.

Having read the good book cover to cover a couple of times during my long stay in neti, l uphold the teaching espoused in John 8:44 that whoever lies is an imp, so as is the norm, expect the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

The plot was conceived in one of our main gaols and those who heard about it then casually dismissed it as a prank.

The chaps who were all about to clear their sentences were discussing options available the moment they stepped out of the neti.

With the boys in blue taking target practice on any suspected goon, no one wanted to regress to hustling in the streets. With all the chaps focussed on making quick money, they decided to set up a religious outfit with the photogenic Davie being used as the front.

Miracle workers

They would buy a public address system and start preaching in the streets. Give it to netizens for their great public speaking skills for not long after they set up shop, the crowds were already swelling. Within no time, they had moved into some hall in town for lunch hour services before metamorphosing to a fully-fledged ministry.

The boys are now doing real well, their origins notwithstanding as they all hold that the end has indeed justified the means.

So, l was watching television the other day when this familiar face popped out on the screen during a certain televangelist’s show.

The girl was giving a testimony about how she had been miraculously healed of HIV after intensive prayers by the "man of God." Shouts of "Hallelujah!" and "Praise God!" rent the air as a carnival atmosphere gave way to praise and worship.

That familiar face happens to be a close relative and to the best of my knowledge, has always been in good health. I immediately sent out feelers and the startling feedback that l get opens my eyes to the new business in town, spiritual conmanship.

The lass had been given ten grand to enact the drama. She had confessed to family that she was not the only one trained to play act in an elaborate con-game tailored to hoodwink gullible church members and mesmerised television viewers of non-existent spiritual powers supposedly possessed by the "man of God."

Even before that settled in, a woman pal of mine who works in a top five star hotel came visiting and dropped another shocker.

False pretences

Apparently, a top televangelist had been frequenting their hotel for exclusive late lunch dates with different arm candies. She was wondering aloud whether the chap did not have even one male member in his big congregation worthy of a lunch treat. I deftly sidestepped that snide comment. So do l have anything against conmen and actors on the pulpit?

Nothing and everything. First, the few rotten ones are giving the entire church a bad name. Anyway, many of these fakes are being nabbed and hauled into neti for all manner of crimes, the most notable being nookie robbery.

I also have this morbid fear that the cutthroat competition currently being witnessed on the airwaves will only drive guys to the extremes and l cannot rule out some approaching the underworld for tricks on how to eliminate compe.

I see more being busted making out in motels when they are supposedly preaching in other towns. Why do l have this quirky feeling that the famous Ugandan televangelist nabbed at Entebbe airport importing a device used for inducing spasmodic fits which he hoodwinked his followers were a manifestation of the Holy Ghost was not acting alone?

Folks must realise that the church should offer the moral compass upon which the nation depends but with it fast becoming a fertile ground for "obtaining by false pretences"-a crime under the Penal Code, as more "holy" water and oil continue to be put on the hock to long suffering church goers as a prerequisite to receiving miracles.

I’d rather that the church stuck to the simple command given by Jesus in Matthew 10:8. "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, freely you have received, FREELY