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The professor who believed in witchcraft

By Vision Reporter

Added 31st July 2009 03:00 AM

PROF. Isaac Newton Ojok was among the about 500 people who joined Alice Lakwena’s Holy Spirit Movement as fighters. The former education minister in the Obote II regime (1981-1985) believed that witchcraft could be used to fight and win a war.

PROF. Isaac Newton Ojok was among the about 500 people who joined Alice Lakwena’s Holy Spirit Movement as fighters. The former education minister in the Obote II regime (1981-1985) believed that witchcraft could be used to fight and win a war.

By Chris Kiwawulo

PROF. Isaac Newton Ojok was among the about 500 people who joined Alice Lakwena’s Holy Spirit Movement as fighters. The former education minister in the Obote II regime (1981-1985) believed that witchcraft could be used to fight and win a war.

Lakwena, together with ‘Lieutenant’ Ojok, launched the Holy Spirit Movement at Opit Railway Station, Southeast of Gulu, in 1984. It operated in northern and eastern Uganda.

They believed that smearing fighters’ bodies with herbs mixed with water would shield them against bullets from the Government forces. But they were wrong!

Their movement was badly defeated when the Government troops overran the rebels at Magamaga in Mayuge district, where hundreds of Lakwena’s fighters were killed in 1987.

Born in 1940, Ojok was among the most educated Lakwena supporters who intriguingly believed her spiritual claims. But in 1987, the professor of African studies was arrested by the Government troops (NRA), charged in Kampala with treason and remanded in Luzira Prison. He was released after appealing against his sentence.

To show his relentless belief in supernatural powers, Ojok in July 2006 sought audience with President Yoweri Museveni, saying he wanted to pray for him.

In August 2007, Ojok, together with Lakwena’s father, the late Saverino Lukoya, were stopped from conducting prayers and purification rituals in the northern and eastern Uganda, where Lakwena and the LRA operated.

They had secured permission from the internal affairs permanent secretary, Stephen Kagoda, to conduct rituals to allegedly cleanse the north and eastern regions that had been ravaged by war. But Gulu Resident District Commissioner, Rtd. Col. Walter Ochola, stopped them on grounds that their activities were unclear.

Ojok, who formed Amazing Grace International Church, was also banished from Lira and Gulu after claims that his church was cultic. Stories are told of how his handful of followers would pray at night while naked.
As an Old Boy of Namilyango College, Ojok is described as a very brilliant and sober man.

He always wanted to live an intellectual life, just like his namesake, Sir Isaac Newton, the English natural philosopher and mathematics professor who discovered the laws of motion.

Ojok has many works to his name, the most memorable of which is God Frees The Oppressed, a testimony of the amazing power of prayer and fasting. The book was published by Pentland Books in Edinburgh, Cambridge in 2001.

Alfred Mugoda, the former head teacher of Namilyango College (September 1973 - August 1986), once said Ojok was a man who loved the prosperity of education.

In 1982, when Namilyango perfomed well in examinations, says Mugoda: “The then Minister of Education, Prof. Isaac Newton Ojok, himself an old boy of Namilyango College, introduced me to a huge gathering in the Makerere University Main Hall as the best headmaster of the year.”

One of the boys’ dormitories at Ngai Secondary School in Oyam district, was named after Ojok in honour of his contribution to establishing the school.

Till today, the Western Wing of the boys’ dormitory at the government-aided school is called Isaac Newton.

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The professor who believed in witchcraft

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