Wednesday, October 12, 2011
How a Ugandan Princess was able to forgive the killers of her father, ’King Freddie’ of Buganda
Her husband has also forgiven the murderers of his own dad
By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
SEOUL, KOREA (ANS) — For many years, a Ugandan princess carried a heavy burden in her spirit. She found it impossible to forgive the killers of her late father, “King Freddie” of Buganda.
Princess Jane with her husband, David,
Princess Mpologoma Jane Nabanakulya now co-pastors a Manmin Church in Bethnal Green, London, and her father had the rather incredible name of Sir Edward Frederick William David Walugembe Mutebi Luwangula Mutesa ll, who was born on November 19, 1924 and was King (Kabaka) of the Kingdom of Buganda from November 22, 1939 until his suspicious death in exile in London on November 21, 1969.
“King Freddie,” as he was known in the Western press, was the thirty-fifth Kabaka (King) and as King he was also leader of his ethnic group and was the President of Uganda from 1963 to 1966 before being deposed in a coup and escaped to England where he remained for the rest of his life.
The King lived in a flat in Rotherhithe several miles east of the city center and was supposed to have died in 1969 from alcohol poisoning, yet even today skeptics believe he was assassinated by Milton Obote on the orders of his political opponent in Uganda.
His death was identified by the British police as suicide, but many believe it was an assassination and they claim that he was force-fed vodka by agents of the Obote regime.
The King was interviewed in his flat only a few hours before his death by the famous BBC journalist John Simpson, who found that he was sober and in good spirits. Simpson reported this to the police the following day on hearing of Mutesa’s death, although this line of inquiry was not pursued. Mutesa’s body was returned to Uganda in 1971 after the overthrow of Obote and given a state funeral at Kasubi Nabulagala.
Ironically, the new President who ordered the state funeral was Idi Amin, who as Army Commander had led the assault on Mutesa’s palace in 1966.
In Uganda Holocaust, a book I co-authored with Ray Barnett, we chronicled how Idi Amin soon turned into a monster and during his eight-year regime he and his thugs killed something like 500,000 Ugandans (including 300,000 Christians).
Princess Jane speaking at her church
Among those who also fled into exile in England was Princess Jane, who now runs the Manmin — it means “all people” — Church in Bethnal Green, London, with her husband, David.
She told me about the anger that she had long harbored about her father’s death during a recent interview I conducted with her in Seoul, Korea, where she was attending the 29th anniversary of the Manmin Central Church in Seoul, which has grown to 100,000 members and has over 9,000 branch churches around the world.
She began the interview by telling me that she was born in Uganda shortly before its independence.
“My father was King for about ten years and was overthrown by his Prime Minister, Milton Obote,” she said. “He was then forced into exile to the United Kingdom, where he was murdered.”
Worship at the anniversary in Seoul
When asked if she was angry about the way her family was treated, she replied, “Definitely, yes! But my life was changed by Jesus Christ.
“The death of my dad, who was poisoned, and the circumstances surrounding it, really broke my heart. But when I became born-again, it was then that I relied on the promises of God and that changed my life and I was able to forgive whoever killed him.
“I’m a happy woman now. I’ve forgiven whoever tortured my family. I no longer hold grudges from the past and I’m living a very, very happy life.”
While in exile in London, she met her husband David, whose father was also assassinated during the reign of Milton Obote, and had fled Uganda.
“We began our church in 2005 and we have a multi-cultural congregation in Bethnal Green, which is in East London,” Princess Jane continued.
I wondered if the people at the church realized that she was a Princess?
“Yes, they do,” she laughed.
So do they bow down in front of her?
“They sometimes give me a holy bow,” she smiled. “But really, we’re one in the Lord if we’re in the Church of Jesus Christ.”
How does she feel about Uganda these days?
“We’ve struggled hard since independence and hopefully maybe Uganda will get back into shape as now it’s got some peace,” she said.
Reggier and Ronald Kray
I later talked with her charming husband, David, who revealed that his own father had been murdered during the rule of Obote.
“Like my wife, I have also been able to forgive the killers of my father through my faith in Jesus Christ,” he said. “Otherwise, it would be a heavy burden for me to carry.”
David then told me that the church meets next door to a pub in Bethnal Green that is deep in British folklore – the Blind Beggar. It was there that Ronald Kray, one of the infamous Kray Twins (the other was Reggie), shot dead George Cornell in front of customers in 1966 for calling him a “fat poof.”
“I have read a book about the Krays so I did know a little bit about this area where we now meet,” he said.
What an incredible story that this couple have to tell, and what a great illustration it is that the love of Christ can overcome everything that can come our way – even the murder of their fathers.
Note: I would like to thank Robin Frost for transcribing this interview.