At the weekend, social media was awash with pictures of men and women bowing down to Prophet Elvis Mbonye. Some knelt. Some lay prostrate. Many kissed his shoes. The prophet meanwhile smiled, laughed and raised his hands, seemingly enjoying the praise and adulation he was receiving.
Earlier, the poster inviting people to the function stated: ‘We submit our politics, economics, cultures and lives to the Grace, Glory and Authority of Prophet Elvis Mbonye with heartfelt gratitude and honour at your feet.’ Below that was a line ‘Pioneering a culture of Honour’ presumably the theme of the function.
Mbonye is no stranger for those who live in Kampala.
For the past few years now, he has been holding his meetings at various places in the city, including Kyadondo Rugby Ground and Kololo Airstrip. He is also well-known for the prophecies about the country and the world, which he makes at the beginning of the year.
That said, many concerns abound. First of all, if Mbonye and his team are Christian, then they do subscribe to the Bible.
The Bible in Exodus 20:3 says: ‘You shall have no other gods before me.’ This was the first commandment God gave to his people, a commandment every Christian if they are truly one, should follow. This verse and many others throughout the Bible show that man is not to be worshipped. What members of the congregation were doing last Friday looked like they were worshipping Mbonye.
It is worrying on many levels because it now looks like the prophet wants everything to begin and end with him; having services where he is honoured as though he is a demi-god; where he is over-protected as though he is a human being greater than others; where the congregation is asked to give in millions of shillings… It is worrying because these look like elements of a cult following.
A cult is a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.
And this seems to be what Mbonye is cultivating.
Knowing what has happened in the past with other cults, religious leaders and those concerned should interest themselves in this and sound the warning bells early enough, especially because Mbonye’s crowd of followers seems to be growing bigger by the day, with many young people joining the flock.
There is nothing wrong with honouring men and women of God. But when they become the sole object of affection, then there is a problem.