Mzee Severino Lukoya, 95, the father to Alice Lakwena, the former leader of the Holy Spirit Movement (HSM), has accused the police of interfering with his spiritual work across the northern region.
Mr Lukoya is the founder of the New Jerusalem International Tabernacle Ministries in Gulu Municipality that practices a mixture of Acholi traditional religion, Christianity and Islam.
He raised his grievance last week during a stakeholders’ meeting organised by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) at Kaunda Grounds in Gulu Municipality.
“I got a certificate to practice as a religious leader but I am always harassed by police and yet God has blessed me with healing powers,” Mr Lukoya said.
“Last week I was arrested and detained on unclear grounds in Agago District and I was stopped from crossing the area yet it is my ancestral home. How can I be helped by you the officials of the JSC?” he said.
However, Mr Jimmy Patrick Okema, the Aswa region police spokesperson, denied interfering with Mr Lukoya’s spiritual work. “Police do not interfere; why don’t you ask the community? We usually receive complaints from the community and that is when we act. His followers keep on reducing and as police, we usually come in when there are complaints against him,” Mr Okema said by telephone yesterday
He added: “Sometimes we save him from angry people that usually want to beat him up and if we do not come in to rescue him, one day he might be lynched.” Mr Lukoya told JSC officials that his run-ins with the police began in 2008.
“I sued government in 2008 for interfering with my work and I won the case but government has not paid me Shs25m in damages,” he said.
Mr Lukoya was among residents who attended the JSC stakeholders meeting, in which they raised several issues hindering their access to justice.