By Elizabeth Namazzi
Months before our national football team, the Uganda Cranes, faced Senegal in the just concluded World Cup qualifier, Pastor Abraham Richard Bisaso predicted that we would win the game.
But on one condition; Ugandans had to pray very hard. His exact prediction went thus: “To those who believe in God, listen. I saw Ugandans playing, but it was a tension game.
Uganda had a good beginning and a good game, but missed many chances of scoring.
I saw a goal and player number 7, who was on the right hand side, had the best opportunities of scoring. We should pray for the second half because this is where things may change.
Whether they (Ugandans) believe or not, this will happen. However, if God does not watch this game with you, you are wasting time.”
This is the game we all hoped would take us a step closer to our first World Cup. Although I have never been much of a football fan, I have my share of patriotism that many of us get when our national team is playing a crucial game.
So as I listened to Bisaso, the man some, especially those from his church, believe is Godsent, I felt traces of hope in my heart.
But Uganda lost that game. They did have a good game, according to some analysts, but the game’s sole goal went to Senegal. But as Bisaso predicted, it was a tense game; so much that I, at one point, felt like both teams had set out to fight. Uganda even got a red card.
Why we lost the match
For Bisaso, the only explanation for our loss is that we did not pray hard enough. He made it clear that this was the only condition for our win.
“I did not say we shall win. We had to pray from wherever we were for this to happen,” he said.
So, according to him, our soccer victories have a lot to do with prayer. Sadly, he says, years of interaction with God and Ugandans have shown him that Ugandans are not really for God.
“Uganda is a country that pretends to love God when it does not,” he explains, and it is because of this that we keep getting disappointed when we play crucial matches.
Often, he claims, God shows him how our matches will turn out long before we play. Sometimes God tells him to pray on our behalf, and those are the times we end the game with smiles.
“When we lose a match, it means God has not told me to intervene.
What Ugandans should know is that they have a God who watches football with them. It was because of God’s intervention that they won the last matches,” he says.
Face to face with God
Bisaso claims he speaks face to face with God. “I realised as a child that I am a person of God because He could talk to me directly. He would say: ‘You are my son. You are always with me.’ However, I never understood what he meant until I was older.
At one point, I told God that I was too small to be His messenger. However, He assured me that it was not about size and age,” he says.
But when asked about his first encounter with God, he says he does not remember because he was still a child. “All I know is that my whole life has been a life of ministry and I have always been God’s messenger.
From the time I realised that I am on earth, God has been by my side. He is my spiritual mentor,” he explains.
Of course most people do not believe that God talks to him face to face, but this does not bother or surprise him because Jesus was also rejected in His own village.
Although he always knew that he was different, his mother had no idea until when he was in S1. “She fell sick so I prayed for her and she got well. Amazed, she called our neighbours and told me to pray for them.
However, I always broke her heart because I always opposed her since her will was not God’s will for me,” he explains.
He speaks fairly good English although he says he did not go far in education. He, however, says he attended many schools, including Highway College Makerere, Central College Kawempe and Liberty Education Centre.
“I was very active right from primary and was always a leader,” he says. In secondary school, Bisaso says he received many revelations about students, so they would always seek him out.
Most, of course, expected positive revelations but he sometimes had bad news for them. “They would react negatively, yet bad news is sometimes good news from God,” he says.
Even today, he says he gets negative prophesies that he must pass on to God’s people. “I do not like it, but I cannot say no when the master says yes.
As a person, I can do nothing. I speak as my father tells me. I speak His mind concerning different things, including Ugandan football,” he says.
Aware that some people might think that he is out to draw people for himself, he warns me not to reveal the name and location of his church. “You may stay in your church as long as you believe God’s message,” he says.
Bisaso says he tried his hand at several jobs, but he noticed that his attempts always failed. “The Lord stopped me from doing many things.
I would try to work and fail. I tried to travel abroad and failed. Today, I understand that the Lord’s hand has been pushing me to do His will,” he says.
Conditions for future victories
According to Bisaso, we can only win in football if we know the source of our joy and power, because God’s target is to show His power and presence.
“Come to God and trust in his counsel. If they (Ugandans) accept that they need God, they will win. All God wants is His people to know that it is only Him who can give them victory,” Bisaso insists.
He claims to have also predicted Uganda Cranes' win against Angola and Liberia, Whitney Houston's death and Obama's re-election in 2012.
However, much as the above prophesies were retrieved from an old notebook kept by one of his church members, Sunday Vision could not verify their authenticity.
Who is bisaso?
Bisaso lost his father when he was four years old. He grew up with his mother and brother in Bombo along Luwero Road. “I owe all my life to my mother,” he says.
But that is almost all he is willing to reveal about his immediate family and personal life. “I am like a man without a history,” he says in an attempt to explain his reluctance to say much about his family.
The first thing that strikes you about Bisaso is his simplicity and humility. He is small-bodied, slightly tall and does not have a commanding presence.
Sometimes his eyes seemed on the verge of watering and I remember wondering if this was because he had received a sad revelation about me or Uganda.
But when he spoke, he was calm and sat with legs stretched and leaning backwards on his chair. He spoke softly and quoted the Bible every now and then to emphasise his message.
His followers treat him like deity
Bisaso’s church members talk about him with reverence. They kneel when talking to him, tell him all their troubles and treat anything he gives them with special care.
They believe he has the power to heal and do anything. For instance, I had a bad cough during our first meeting.
I said I hoped he would not get it, one of his church members smiled knowingly and, after the interview, chided me for not asking him to heal me.
During our second interview, he gave me water that I passed on to another church member. She, however, handed it back the moment she learned that it was from the pastor.
“You do not know what this water means. If it is from pastor Bisaso, take it because it is a blessing from him. It is powerful,” she insisted.
A church member, Melon Kenyangi, testifies that Bisaso’s predictions always come to pass. “If they do not, it means that we have not met God’s conditions,” she insists.
Referring to him as the one God sent, she says he has given many predictions about countries and individuals with exact precision. And she has no doubt that Bisaso's God watches football.
Before setting off for this interview, we were warned not to take cameras because we would be denied access to the church. We also learnt that church members are not allowed to take phones although we were not given clear reasons for this.
When you join the church, you are given a new name as a child of God. This, members believe, is the name in God’s book and it will help you enter heaven.
On Sundays, members do not return home until Bisaso says it is okay to leave. According to church members, sometimes they pray for the whole day and this can stretch into the night if Bisaso says so.
They are so well known for long services/prayer sessions that some people in the neighbourhood refer to them as abasoma balwawo, which literally means those who pray for long.