What you need to know:
- Pastor Joseph Sserubiri with the help of his girlfriend allegedly sacrificed their landlord’s daughter two years ago.
The High Court in Jinja City has sentenced a pastor of a Pentecostal church to life imprisonment for killing a four-year-old child through ritual sacrifice, and an additional 30 years for child trafficking.
Pastor Joseph Sserubiri, 30, from Deliverance and Healing Ministry in Kakira Town Council, Jinja District, with the help of his girlfriend, Felista Namaganda, in September 2021, allegedly sacrificed Isabella Trinity Nakisuyi, who was their landlord’s daughter.
The deceased was a daughter to Ms Annet Nakisasa and Mr John Mulodi, both residents of Kakira Cell in Jinja District.
Pastor Sserubiri was immediately arrested together with Ms Namaganda and Ismail Ssekabira, also known as Israel, a senior pastor at their main church in Nansana, Wakiso District.
During sentencing, Justice Winfred Nabisinde said Pastor Sserubiri had pleaded guilty of all the offences, while his two co-defendants pleaded not guilty. She adjourned the hearing of their case to August 18.
“I have sentenced you to life imprisonment to prevent other people who intend to do the same, to provide justice for the innocent and vulnerable child who trusted an adult person whom she knew to take her away from her parents’ home,” Justice Nabisinde said.
She added: “The move was well-planned and calculated, where things such as a knife, and tarpaulin were bought to sacrifice a child with the intention of enriching yourselves. Christianity also condemns it because the Bible doesn’t talk about sacrificing a human being to become rich. This is a ruthless murder done by a mature person.’’
According to Justice Nabisinde, cases of human sacrifice are rampant in Busoga Sub-region.
In February, Police in Kamuli District arrested two witchdoctors in connection to the suspected ritual sacrifice of a four-year-old boy, whose mutilated body was found in a sugarcane plantation, four days after he went missing.
Nakisuyi went missing from her parents’ home on September 30, 2021, and the case threatened to go cold until residents asked police to speak to Pastor Sserubiri and Ms Namaganda as persons of interest.
The couple later led detectives to the shores of Lake Victoria where her skull was found, and to a sugarcane plantation where her torso was found.
Court documents suggest that the convict sacrificed Nakisuyi with an intention of growing his church and for self-enrichment.
Pastor Sserubiri told court that he had a dream of a white snake with a head of Pastor Ssekabira, his spiritual father, telling him to make a sacrifice so that he can enlarge his church.
Seth Rukundo of Rukundo Seth and Company Advocates, who represented the convict, said he is going to appeal against the judgement.
However, Justice Dr Nabisinde said the convict is free to appeal against the sentence, but not the judgment. Mr Robert Esarait held brief for State Prosecutor Shallotte Kamusiime
The deceased’s parents, including mother, said they are happy with the sentence.
Police registered 72 cases of ritual sacrifice in 2022, according to the latest annual crime report. This was a rise from 46 cases recorded in 2021. Police said they had recorded 22 sacrifices in 2019 and the figures jumped to 45 in 2020.
Despite enacting tough laws and threatening death sentences to those engaging in human sacrifices, the practice continues to be practised, especially in rural areas.