By Raphael Okello
Pastor Martin Ssempa, the senior minister of Makerere Community Church and outspoken controversial social critic has joined the infamous list of America’s wanted men. For the first time in a very long time, the intrepid and vocal pastor has been silenced and driven into hiding with a bounty in the regions of US$40,000 (approx. sh128m) staked over his head for any resourceful informant.
The 47-year-old pastor, who holds both Ugandan and American citizenship, is being hunted by American private investigators under a company called Magineto, hired to locate, capture and fly him to America for questioning. He is wanted as a principal witness in a Civil Law suit against another controversial pastor Scott Lively who stands accused of crimes against humanity by a group of Ugandans.
The group which lodged a lawsuit in the US claims that Lively, a US national, persecuted them for their sexual beliefs. Ssempa is not himself a target of the lawsuit, but as a close ally of Lively, he has successfully been listed as a principal witness. And since discovering that Ssempa holds duo citizenship, the American Center for Constitutional Rights gleefully served him with a subpoena (pronounced supina) – a document ordering a person to attend court. Ssempa’s subpoena conveniently comes with a US$1900 (approx. sh6m) cheque to cover his travel expenses to Massachusetts.
According to Ssempa’s confidants, agreeing to testify in the case whose hearing started on June 16, is the same thing as handing himself up for arrest. “It will indirectly hand the Americans an opportunity to implicate him for the crimes against humanity because just like Lively, he (Ssempa) has been a prominent critic of the west and their liberal moral standpoint,” he argues.