Pastor Aloysius Bugingo and his ‘dry-eyed’ girlfriend Susan Makula Nantaba have known each other for at least 10 years. Theirs is the story of two unlikely couple.
Around 2008, a girl popped up at Pastor Joseph Sserwadda’s Victory Church in Ndeeba, a suburb of Kampala city. Her name was Susan. Sserwadda’s radio Impact FM had organised an annual fans day. Susan impressed everyone as she went about the crowd hugging everyone.
Among the people she charmed was Pastor Martin Sebuguzi, the son of Pastor Serwadda, who manages Impact and Alpha FM radio stations.
Sebuguzi is famed for spotting talent, and it wasn’t long before he recruited Susan as staff at their Alpha radio. She would later recommend her to manage the same station as Sebuguzi concentrated on Impact.
By this time, Bugingo wasn’t in the picture. He was a proud inhabitant of Bwaise slums, where he had a single room ‘mansion’ in which he lived with his now estranged wife Teddy Naluswa and daughter Doreen.
However, Bugingo was a man of faith. And he was an ardent listener of Impact FM.
While the Isma Lubega of Kibibi, Luba Kyoya and Makolo Kavumas of this world were calling radio stations to criticize government officials, when Bugingo got some airtime, he called Impact FM early morning and asked the presenter to allow him recite a prayer that breaks the day.
Bugingo would become a regular caller, with his prayer style attracting more listeners to the station.
Pastor Sebuguzi, who had just returned from UK for studies, once again asked his father to hire Bugingo, the caller since he had proved his loyalty to the station.
Serwadda told his son, “I left the running of radios to you because you are the professional. Hire him if you think he is useful.”
Bugingo became a hit on Impact, and soon he had a major show which also featured Pastor Serwadda himself. Serwadda loved Bugingo so much that when he was out of the country he left him in charge of the church. He had become Sserwadda’s defacto number two.
Bugingo was however, was not satisfied with playing number two. He wanted to be his own man. He had also become a darling among worshippers at Victory Church. That is how he decided to start his own ministry, knowing so well, he would walk away with enough followers.
Somehow, Bugingo convinced Pastor Sebuguzi to abandon his father and join him to start Canaan ministries. They booked Club Obligato on Bombo road for praying time.
Soon, they were collecting money to start a radio from worshippers. The radio is now Salt FM which has birthed Salt TV and the media company has become a force to reckon with. While they were starting out, Pastor Sebuguzi convinced among others, Susan Makula to jump ship and join their radio, whose future wasn’t certain.
Salt has not disappointed business wise.
It recruited the safe hands of veteran dramatist and radio personality Charles James Senkubuge from Radio Simba and the rest is history.
It is at Salt that Bugingo and Susan got to know each other deeper. Pastor Sebuguzi, who himself was reportedly dating Susan, noticed something strange in Susan after Salt took off. Whereas she previously took instructions from him, she started ignoring him, bypassing issues to talk to the managing director who had started giving her preferential treatment.
Staff at Salt started wondering why Susan got away with offences that got others reprimanded by management or castigated on air by Pastor Bugingo.
One day, Pastor Sebuguzi woke up to go to work only to be told that he had one month left to be employed by Salt FM.
He had to look for somewhere else to offer his services.
His resistance – showing Bugingo that he had a stake in the ministry – landed him in more trouble as Bugingo used his pulpit to declare him a murderer.
He said Sebuguzi had attempted to poison him on several occasions over the church ownership. He said he was done with him to save his life.
Insiders however knew it was a lie. But Bugingo had public and worshippers’ good will. He succeeded in pushing away Sebuguzi, who buried his pride and returned to his father’s flock like the Biblical prodigal son.
However, it is not a secret that the Bugingo-Sebuguzi fallout was over who possesses Susan. And now, it was clear to Susan that she stood to gain more from Bugingo whose ministry and media was flourishing. She wanted to keep Sebuguzi at arm’s length.
When Sebuguzi left, Susan started calling the shots.
Those who disagreed with her were sacked for one reason or the other, and in several instances, they were sacked even without following the due process.
Bugingo however didn’t question her motives. It was clear power was weighing on Susan’s side.
Even station manager Senkubuge, accepted that Susan was fully in charge and his role was supportive.
It is said Senkubuge told his friends that at his age he was not chasing after anything as long as he was well remunerated.
When news broke that Susan and Bugingo were about to get married, the scandal which rocked the church and created media blitz, at Salt it wasn’t the case. It was not a secret that Bugingo wasn’t sleeping at his marital home but with Susan, for at least one and half years.
However, the people we spoke to for this article saluted Teddy for being a strong woman despite the marital challenges she (has) encountered since Susan came into her estranged husband’s life.
People familiar with Bugingo’s preaching say, he has been preaching about his marriage for a long time, leaving nothing to their imagination what was going on inside his bedroom.
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