Who is Joseph Kabuleta? Flash Uganda Media looks at his biography, early life, Age, politics, education and background of a Ugandan pastor
Pastor Joseph Kabuleta alias Kabs is a Ugandan pastor, end times teacher, author, former journalist, and founder of Watchman Ministries, businessman, father and a politician.
Kabuleta is best known for kissing the shoes of self-styled Ugandan Prophet Elvis Mbonye of Zoe Fellowship at a grand dinner held at Kololo Grounds in Kampala.
Defending his actions, Kabuleta says kissing Prophet Mbonye’s shoes that went viral was a personal act of honour. He went further and suggested that Mbonye was even more powerful than the Pope.
He says he can still kiss Prophet Mbonye’s shoes over and over again because he does things the way he wants and it is purely his choice. Kabuleta adds that he does not regret his actions.
Early Life and Education
Pastor Joseph Kabuleta was born on March 17, 1972, to Margaret and John Kabuleta at Nsambya hospital in Kampala. His father Sr. (1936-1982) is a Ugandan, Munyoro by tribe from Hoima while his mother is a born of Kenya and a Kikuyu by tribe (1942-present).
Kabuleta was born to a family of 12 children, him being the 9th child in the family. His parents met in 1960 in Nairobi, where his father was working as an accountant with The East African Community (EAC).
He grew up in Rubaga and later the family moved back to Hoima, his father’s home town.
Kabuleta started his primary school education from Buganda Road Primary School in 1978 where he attended his Primary One. Then in 1979 Kabuleeta was transferred to an all-boys Catholic boarding school, Namilyango Junior School where he completed his Primary education in 1984, and then Namilyango College in 1985 for his O’ and A’ Level classes.
He reflects on this experience in the second chapter of his book, ‘Strength of Character’ explaining how discovering independence and the ability to fend for himself early in life emotionally crippled him.
Kabuleta who was talented in arts studied science subjects at A’ Level but failed to secure admission to a degree course because of the low grades he obtained. He then joined Mbale Technical College in 1991 from where he acquired a Diploma in Civil Engineering in 1993.
He opted for science subjects because, at the time, the science subjects were considered more prestigious and offered better opportunities.
However, Kabuleta was born a writer, very talented in it. He used to write articles while at Namilyango College and his articles pinned on school’s notice board. These outstanding memories kept revolving in his mind and made him focus on writing.
Work and Experience
Kabuleta never practised Civil Engineering but rather joined the media and practised journalism. Before joining the media, he worked at a construction site as a building foreman in Kampala.
Then in 1997, Kabuleta joined The Crusader newspaper writing sports stories. But within a year, his vivid story-telling proficiency had seen him elevated to post of sports editor from 1998 to 1999.
Later, he became a reporter at The New Vision after The Crusader folded of big football matches and only became a columnist after the death of Kenneth Matovu until 2009.
He covered several sporting events across the world including the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
“One thing that made me stand out is my strength of opinion. When I have an opinion, I put it out, regardless of what others think.”
Between 2003 and 2007, Kabuleta headed the Uganda Sports Press Association (USPA), a position that had its highs and lows.
On the high end, Kabuleta was credited for making the USPA gala one of the most anticipated events on the sports calendar to date.
On the low end, however, he was accused by some members of USPA for extorting money from Mike Ezra with the aid of a blank cheque to organize the 2004 USPA gala.
If Kabuleta, as a pastor, came back as USPA president today, he says, he would work towards instilling integrity in the media.
“The whole media industry is suffering from a crisis of disrespect, just like it is with pastors. If people do not keep reverent, there can be no integrity.”
In 2012, together with a group of fellow sports enthusiasts Mark Ssali and John Kasolo, he started hosting the “Sport-On” show on the now-defunct WBS TV.
To affirm his grip in journalism, he did a Bachelor’s in Mass Communication at Makerere University but admits he knew almost everything since he had been practising. In 2012, he stopped writing but still hosts Sports-On Show on WBS every Sunday.
He also hosted sports shows on radio and television stations until 2018. After the New Vision, he tried his hand at business before he discovered his calling as a Bible prophecy teacher.
Joseph Kabuleta is strange to controversy and has often been labelled arrogant and even abusive because of his sharp criticism of people in notable positions of influence ranging from the sports fraternity to the government of Uganda.
Speaking in his defence, he claims to not intend to belittle or offend anyone, but that his descriptive writing is often taken out of offensive.
Kabuleta is one of those people you would love to hate. He has been tagged as arrogant, blunt and abusive because of the hard language he uses on some people. Recently, while appearing on the Sport-On show, he dubbed Fufa President, Moses Magogo, ‘a thug and Peter Wemali, the athletics coach, ‘a sex pest’.
When asked whether he wasn’t being judgmental, which the Bible is against, he tactfully answers: “The Bible does not say don’t reprimand or criticize. To judge means to sit in God’s seat. When I reprimand, I do so in the seat of a journalist. If you are what you are and I tell it to you, am I judging you?”
And how did he deal with the animosity between him and Lawrence Mulindwa – former FUFA President?
With a calm demeanour, Kabuleta, a supporter of KCCA FC, Middleborough and Bayern Munich, replies: “I never had anything personal against Mulindwa. I wasn’t criticizing him in any other capacity apart from that of his position as President, and mine as a sport analyst. Today, all my meetings with him though few have been cordial,” he tries to reassure.
Kabuleta kisses Prophet Elvis Mbonye’s shoes
Joseph Kabuleta became the centre of a media controversy in September 2017 when he was photographed kissing the shoes of Prophet Elvis Mbonye as a way of honouring the prophet. He was heavily criticized in the media with stories saying the former sports scribe had become a worshiper of men.
In response, he said, “I do not regret my actions and would not want my right to honor my spiritual father, Prophet Mbonye to be infringed upon.” He insisted that the enormous backlash he received was unnecessary as we are all free to worship and honour whichever way we choose to.
Also, he said he would do it again, as it is a matter of choice.
Kabuleta has also become notorious for his whistle blower-style Facebook posts dubbed ‘Joseph Kabuleta Weekly Rants’ in which he sharply criticizes the government of Uganda for its corruption, gross mismanagement of resources and covert operations that he believes undermine the prosperity of Ugandans.
On July 8, 2019, Joseph Kabuleta posted a ‘weekly rant’ on Facebook titled “Mafia Empire and the Transition” where he heightened a purported move by President Yoweri Museveni to have his son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba, his successor.
On July 12, 2019, at about 17:50 hours EAT, while at a coffee shop in Kampala, Kabuleta was picked up by plainclothes operatives and taken to an unknown location.
After posts about his kidnap went viral on social media, the Ugandan Police Force issued a statement charging him with the crime of offensive communication contrary to section 25 of the Computer Misuse Act of 2011.
According to the Police press statement issued five hours after Police denying his where-about, it was claimed that he addressed the person of the President with a grossly offensive word like ‘thief’, gambler’ and a ‘liar’.
Outraged supporters, opposition political leaders and members of his Ministry all came together in condemnation of the government’s use of excessive force to curtail the freedom of expression.
After he was released on bond, in an interview with NTV Uganda a local television station, Kabuleta, stated security operatives tortured him while in custody. The Criminal Investigation Department of Police denied all allegations of torture.
Joseph Kabuleta has since vowed to continue exercising his right to criticize the government’s shortcomings.
Opposing the Religious Bill
Kabuleta is in an ongoing campaign to oppose a Religious policy that is being pushed in parliament to regulate the practice of religious organizations. The Bill that was introduced by the minister of Ethics and Integrity, Fr. Simon Lokodo seeks to monitor and coordinate religious affairs in Uganda.
Kabuleta has been vocal in opposing this policy; organizing conferences to sensitize religious leaders on the consequences of the policy. However, the bill has continued to receive support from some circles in the religious community.
Under the Watchman ministries, Joseph Kabuleta has introduced a petition called ‘Stop Religious Oppression’ to garner support against the bill.
He has gone even further to seek legal action against the Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Fr. Simon Lokodo over the formation of an oppressive religious policy that seeks to infringe on the freedom of worship of the citizens of Uganda.
Kabuleta to race the incumbent Yoweri Museveni in 2021
At the beginning of the year 2019, an article appeared in The WatchDog a Ugandan publication that stated that Prophet Elvis Mbonye had intimated to close inner circle associates that Kabuleta is to be the next President of Uganda come 2021. Joseph Kabuleta appeared not in the media neither denying nor confirming these claims leading to much speculation.
However, the former journalist turned evangelist, Joseph Kabuleta, in July 2020 announced his presidential bid for 2021 general election confirming the earlier reports.
Addressing a news conference in Kampala, Kabuleta said he feels he is the right person to take the mantle of leading the country in the next five years.
“The message I have for Ugandans is that I am standing for the presidency. Ugandans have no choice but to vote for me. I am the only one who will implement what I preach, “Kabuleta said.
Kabuleta now joins a list of many other people including Kyadondo East MP, Robert Kyagulanyi, Charles Rwomushana and former spymaster, Lt. Gen. Tumukunde who have announced their bids to unseat President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who has been in power for 34 years.
Joseph Kabuleta threatens to sue Electoral Commission
Joseph Kabuleta after his presidential bid declaration threatened to drag the Electoral Commission over its revised roadmap for the 2021 general elections.
The Electoral Commission (EC) had announced that mass rallies will not be allowed in the forthcoming general elections over the current coronavirus pandemic and opted for radios and TVs for candidates to campaign.
However, in a June 17, 2020, letter, Kabuleta through his lawyers of Walyemera and Company Advocates says the election body ought to consult all stakeholders before implementing the revised roadmap.
“The said revised roadmap in the guise of observing COVID-19 public health guidelines not only threatens but also violates the citizens’ fundamental constitutional rights to vote, to elect their leaders and also participate in public affairs,” Kabuleta says.
“This revised roadmap also alludes to scientific election campaigns that will only be conducted through media which is a blatant violation of electoral laws.”
The former journalist turned political commentator says in his letter to the EC that they ought to hold consultations attended by all stakeholders to decide how free and fair elections will be held other than the scientific polls.
“We therefore demand that you schedule a meeting where all key stakeholders are consulted on the most appropriate way forward on how to transparently carry out electoral activities within two days from the date of receipt of this letter,” Kabuleta says.
He, however, says he will be forced to drag the electoral body to court if his demands are not heeded to.
However, the EC said there is no need of carrying out consultations to draft an election road map.
“When the EC is drafting an electoral program, it does not require to subject the decision to any ones opinion. We don’t require any ones permission as per article 61 of the constitution,” EC spokesperson, Jotham Taremwa said on while appearing on NBS television.
Joseph Kabuleta is married with three children. His first marriage was terminated in 2013 after being married close to 8 years in which he has two children due to irreconcilable differences. He talks extensively about it in his book, ‘Strength of Character’.
Kabuleta later re-married in July 2017 and has one child in his second marriage.
Religious affiliation and Ministry
Joseph Kabuleta became a born again Christian in 1992 during his Senior Six vacation aged 19. However, the backslidden and got born again the second time in 2001 and has been involved in several outreach ministries.
Kabuleta is a Pastor at Watchman Ministries, a radio show program that he heads which he started in February 2014. He has preached the good gospel on media including Spirit FM, he preaches about the end times doctrines, prophetic revelation, and Jesus Christ’s second coming.
His ministry also publishes The Watchman Magazine which highlights current events about Bible prophecy. Listening to him preach on Spirit FM every Wednesday between 9 pm and 10 pm, one cannot help but notice that he is more of a teacher than a radical preacher.
He takes time to explain his teachings and backs them up with bible verses during his talk show. “Never afraid of controversy, Kabs engages his listeners in debates of Bible prophesy through unfolding world events. ” ” ‘We shall have Passover next year in Jerusalem’ and this came to pass when Israel was birthed,” says Kabuleta.
The Watchman Ministry airs every Wednesday between 9 pm and 10 pm on Spirited-timesteps Kabuleta, the host and teacher, has been hosting the programme since February 2014.
“I am an end times teacher because I want to remind people that the King is about to come and he has to find our hearts ready. ” I also teach people about the days we are living in so that they are not caught up in end-time deception,” Kabuleta says.
The message instils fear in the listeners but Kabuleta says that is what he is called to teach.
“Kabuleta is passionate about his calling and once remarked, “All the things I teach I have studied over some time. “He engages his listeners in debates about Bible prophecy as see through the unfolding of world events. “.