Specioza Mukantabana

Specioza Mukantabana (first name sometimes spelled in news reports as Speciosa, or Preciosa), is a 36-year old woman from Rwanda said to currently be a US resident. In 1986 Mukantabana attracted followers in Uganda, based on her alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary, who she claimed gave her messages.

Mukantabana and her followers are denounced by the Catholic Church. A Uganda newspaper in March, 2000 reported that the cult’s followers “teach against sex, eating pork, announce doomsday, do not accept modern medicine, don’t work hard during day, all contrary to the Church.”

According to a July, 1988 article in the Washington Post, Mukantabana claimed the Virgin Mary told her she would appear with a cure for AIDS.

Mukantbana has a tangential connection to the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God, if only because the visions of two of her group’s leaders inspired the Joseph Kibwetere, the cult’s figurehead leader.

Currently (Dec. 2006) Specioza Mukantabana is again in the news, as thousands of her followers in Uganda were expecting another visitation of the Virgin Mary.

Mary reportedly did speak to Mukantabana, with a perculiar message:

Thousands of followers of Mbuye Christian faith flocked the parish church in Luanda Sub-county anticipating Mary’s visitation on Wednesday.
[…]

The leader, Specioza Mukantabana, a Rwandese residing in the US, was reported speaking to Mary, as the followers prayed and sang.
[…]

Mukantabana knelt down when it was time to hear from Mary. Speaking in English and Kinyarwanda she looked up in the sky and begun to talk.

As she prayed, Dr. Deo Luwukya from Masaka town emerged from the congregation and pricked her body with a sharp object but she did not react. She was also unhurt when he lit a match stick and let the flames lick her back.

In her alleged discussion with Mary Mukantabana was heard saying, “Why do you want me to speak in English. Yes you told me that you were going to come, so many people have been waiting for you at Mbuye.”

“Some of them have come to pray, some have come to see miracles. What should I tell the people in Mbuye.

Some of them have told me to inform you that they have problems of infertility, poverty, unemployment, sickness and some want to become rich. Please help them,” she said.

Then Mukantabana prostrated for several minutes before she rose, crying. “Why did you show me that house? You want me to drop my job. I am afraid of being idle. Okay I will resign my job. I am ready to serve you,” she said.
– Source: Police monitoring sect in Uganda, Sunday Vision, Uganda, Dec. 2, 2006

Mukantabana’s followers inspire Joseph Kwibetere

During the years of 1981 through 1989, six girls and a boy in Kibeho, Rwanda, claimed to receive apparitions and messages from the Virgin Mary.

Their visions, which in 2001 received official recognition by the Catholic Church, are said to have predicted the Rwanda genocide.

Our Lady then showed the children of Kibeho what would happen in their country if people refused to believe and live her messages. All of the children screamed in horror as they saw in a vision, trees in flames, a river of blood flowing with corpses which had been decapitated and floating limbs of people, as Mary warned the children and the world that we were on ‘the edge of catastrophe’. As the children described this horrific scene in these words,

“A river of blood, people were killing each other, abandoned corpses with no one to bury them. A tree all in flames, bodies without their heads. There was crying and screaming. At different times, all seven of the Kibeho visionaries experienced this horrifying vision. They saw a river of blood that formed because people were killing each other indiscriminately. “Corpses, some without heads, were strewn everywhere and were so numerous they could not be buried”

This especially saddened Agnes who saw the death of her own parents. Our lady then warned the seers to leave Rwanda, unfortunately some didn’t.

What is known is that two of these seer’s lost their lives in the killing fields that became Rwanda, where approximately over 800,000 people were brutally murdered as the U.N and the world watched, some with indifference, others with horror!
– Source: Our Lady of Kibeho, Approved Apparitions (blog), March 24, 2006

During and after these visions many individuals and fringe Catholic groups throughout Africa also claimed to receive apparitions of the Virgin Mary and of Jesus.

In 1986, Specioza Mukantabana, a 16 year old girl from Rwanda, moved to Uganda. At the time she reportedly claimed to have a connection with Kibeho, though she was not one of the seven seers.

In Uganda she attracted a following in the city of Mbuye.

The visions of two of her followers – Paul Kashuka, a retied Catholic cathechist who was now one of the seers associated with Mukantabana’s group, and his daughter, Credonia Mwerinde – impressed Joseph Kibwetere, a former headmaster and supervisor of Catholic schools. Like Mukantabana and Kashuka, Kibwetere also claimed to receive visions from Jesus and the Virgin Mary.

In 1989 Kibwetere opened his home for a small group of devotees. The group elected twelve ‘apostles,’ including Paul Kashuka and his daughter Credonia Mwerinde.

In 1990, this group named itself the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God.

In 1993 the group moved to Kanunga, where Mwerinde’s father had donated some land. According to The East African, the site where the group settled was locally called Katate but the cult renamed it Ishayuuriro rya Maria, meaning “where Mary comes to the rescue of the spiritually stranded.”

While Jospeh Kibwetere officially was the movement’s ‘chief apostle and prophet,’ the group’s true leader was Mwerinde. It is said that othing could be done without consulting her. She in turn would claim that she had to consult with the Virgin Mary. Her word was usually final and binding.

In time, the movement’s leaders claimed that the world would end by Dec. 31, 1999. When these prophecies did not come to pass, many of the movement’s followers rebelled. The leaders subsequently claimed that the Virgin Mary had extended the date by two months, to March 17, 2000.

On March 17, 2000, hundreds of the movement’s followers were deliberately burned to death by the cult’s leaders.

Investigations following this tragedy showed that earlier, hundreds more had also been murdered.

Specioza Mukantabana’s group

On March 25, 2000, a Uganda newspaper reported:

The Police have camped at Mbuye parish in Rakai where believers suspected to be part of the Kanungu group have gathered to celebrate.

The Catholic Church leaders at Mbuye requested security officials to provide tight security to prevent any eventualities. The Parish priest asked that the group be disbanded because retired Bishop Adrian Dungu had stopped them from camping at the church.

However, Irene Tibaaga, the District Police Commander, who had a meeting with the church leaders, declined to use force to evict the worshippers. She said this would give the impression that the Government was dictating issues and had interfered with Church work.

District leaders had requested the church to evict the group since their worship contravenes the Catholic doctrine.

The parish priest said the cult followers, whose founder is Speciosa Mukantabana, among other teach against sex, eating pork, announce doomsday, do not accept modern medicine, don’t work hard during day, all contrary to the Church.
– Source: Police Watch Cult Church, New Vision, Uganda, Mar. 25, 2000

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This post was last updated: Dec. 12, 2006    
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