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Pastor Happy Ngabo: On being `the war son’

Pastor Happy David Ngabo gained fame for the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) weekly prayers he conducted as part of the ‘Free my vote’ campaign in early 2016.

Kampala, Uganda | AGNES E NANTABA | His fiery sermons and preaching captured the imagination of many across the country as he pointed to the injustices he said were committed by President Yoweri Museveni and the NRM government.

Pastor Ngabo says he was standing up against ideologies that are not right and just.

“We share the same views with different political parties but FDC gave me a platform to voice God on earth,” he says.

He says he has succeeded because he was sent by God which makes his calling bigger than any intimidation and threat.

It is a big shock to some people seeing a man who was once under the care and guidance of President Museveni dinning and wining with the opposition. Pastor Ngabo was taken on by President Museveni at the start of the liberation war in 1981 at just five years old while under the care of his elder brother who was a principle at Masuulita Primary School in Luwero. It was one morning of heavy artillery and sounds that infant Ngabo had never heard before. But he says the environment and suffering he endured throughout the years defines who he is today.

“It gives me the tenacity, charisma, ability to articulate things the way I do because it had a toll on me,” he says.

Ngabo describes himself as `the war son’. His worst memory was when he sneaked out the Museveni rebel camp and went in desperate search of food. Hunger had struck the camp and as six-year old, he could not take it any longer.

He escaped to the nearby village a managed to find some potatoes. But he was cornered shortly after as a “young rebel” and was beaten to near death as he tried to run away with a few potatoes for his sisters back in the camp.  He only managed to escape and return to camp because he was a “bush boy’. He never narrated his ordeal for fear of causing commotion in the camp and barracks.

He took President Museveni to be his father after being disunited from his parents at an early age. But soon after the war, he and his siblings were re-united with Rev. John Tumusiime who was clergyman in the Anglican Church. He would later turn out to be his real father.

“Eventually I grew in my father’s hands and all I heard him talk about was God even when he was ageing,” he says.

Ngabo is the third born of four children whom Tumusiime had during his second marriage after the first wife fled for failing to bear him children.  Ngabo resumed school but, as a soldier boy, he was expelled for rowdiness from schools like Kitante, City Primary, East Kololo and St Francis. Eventually he completed primary school at Summit View Primary School. Then his once active father broke his spine and neck. Under the care and support of his elder brother, Ngabo proceeded for secondary education at Light College Katikamu and Kyambogo College.  All this while, he would juggle both school and business.

“The people I tried to emulate at that time dealt in the same kind of work but little did I know that I had started living a life of an older man at a young age,” he says.

In 1999, Ngabo says Jesus appeared to him in glory and light sparkling like rays of the sun.

“He never spoke a word to me but I felt like I had offended him the whole of my life,” says Ngabo, “I began fellowshipping at Winner’s Chapel, familiarised with the words in the Bible and started serving God”.

He would soon start preaching the gospel across the country and beyond borders until 2003 when he fled the country returning two years later to register Rock of Deliverance International Ministries (RODIM); a ministry that he is still running to date. He is married to Pastor Sandra Katebalirwe Ngabo with whom they have four children.

Pastor Happy Ngabo’s Liteside

Any three things we don’t know about you?

People don’t understand my calling in life; many consider me to be an opposer of Mr. Museveni and yet they should look at me as a savior. I bear the history of Uganda and so anything that tampers with this constitution is against the will of many. Its people like us with the foresight who have the duty to warn the people and those who take me as a bad man judge me wrongly. If I choose to fight for you, it doesn’t matter who stands in my way; I will pull them down or they will pull me down but at least I will leave scratches on them.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Not until you find what you were created to do, you will never be happy in life and that is not given by knowledge but wisdom as a gift from God. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.

What is your greatest fear?

Having to regret of what I was meant to do and didn’t do is the reason I do everything with inspiration.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Self is an enemy to the spirit and as long I still have it with me, I am still fighting the enemy.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

As a clergyman, I have learnt to live with people no matter how many times they offend me or fall.

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