Kefa Sempangi's Ministry to Street Children
A response to accusations of corruption

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Kefa Sempangi began ministry to the street children in Uganda in 1971 under the banner of The Africa Foundation. These children were mostly orphaned and homeless due to the killing of Idi Aminís henchmen. Kefa and his family had to flee Idi Amin and Uganda in 1974 (see his book A Distant Grief) but he returned in 1979 and resumed this ministry. Sadly, the effects of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in the United States has had a devastating effect on the external support Kefa was receiving and much of his work is suspended.

Previously on this page, I had reproduced some accusations that had been made against Mr. Sempangi "blatant corruption and abuse of funds" and the response that he had made to the Parliament of Uganda. (At that time he was a sitting member of Parliament) In a telephone conversation with a gentleman about Uganda and I mentioned Mr. Sempangi and the gentleman immediately voiced a very negative opinion of Mr. Sempangi, saying he was just a con artist that took money intended to help children. I was shocked. I have visited his home on several occasions and personally know several young men who freely and without prompting, credit Kefa for rescuing them from the streets and most likely saving their lives.

I then inquired as to where my friend on the phone had gotten this information. He told me and sure enough, it was the material formerly on this page. Sadly, other Uganda sites picked up that same information and to this day it remains on some of those sites. What he had done was read the accusations, but not the response. Therefore, I have removed all that information from this site.

The truth is, Mr. Sempangi, like virtually every group that is involved in helping children, found himself being blackmailed with comments like "If you don't give me so much money, I will spread the word you are a fraud." When you chose to help person A and not person B, you open yourself up to the ire of person B. I have even experienced this personally. Turns out this is very, very common and has hurt many very good works. Once a bad word is out, it is very hard for the truth to catch up to it.

I have looked long and hard at Mr. Sempangi's work and have not found anything about his lifestyle that suggests he is simply taking people's money intended to help street children, and using it for his own purposes. He has given a good portion of his life helping street kids. As I said above, I know some of these young men and I am very impressed with them. Someone has made a big difference in their lives and I see nothing to suggest it was anyone other that Dr. Kefa Sempangi. When evaluating such accusations, one needs to carefully consider the accuser and what motivation he has to make such charges.

One final point. Since 2007 I have been involved with Kefa and two other pastors in a village church planting ministry in the Mukono district which is Kefa's home. At his lead, not only are churches being planted in very rural areas, these very poor people are receiving Bible, seeds to plant, mosquito nets to help reduce malaria, other types of medical and benevolent help, and we are working on supplying clean water. All of this under the leadership of Kefa. This I have seen with my own eyes. Dr. Sempangi may not be perfect (are you?) but I am thankful for the opportunity to work side-by-side with him.


I received the following email in response to the material above. I have not identified the sender for secruity and privacy reason but did independlty confirm that the writer is indeed whom they claimed to be and did grow up in First Presbyterian Kampala.

----- Original Message -----
From: Name & Email Address Withheld
To: bob@ugandamission....
Sent: Saturday, October 31, 2009 4:00 PM
Subject: Thanks!

Bob,

Thank you for your defense of Kefa and the information on Uganda. I grew up in the First Presbyterian Church and do know many people whose lives were changed because of Mr. Sempangi. I also know that because of his obedience to God to bring the reformed doctrine back to Uganda and starting the PCU helped people like me to have churches where the preaching of God's true word.

I'm also grateful that God has restored Him and is using him to go to the villages. I have been involved in missions to Uganda. I know that missionaries prefer the cities and Kampala is saturated with many organizations. It is sad to go a few miles into the villages to wetness the needs there and no availability of help from churches. I have been to Rakai district and Kibale ( Bunyoro) and it is truly sad to see the needs there - yet in Kampala you have all these agencies supposedly serving.

I'm therefore thrilled to see a Ugandan going to the villages acknowledged by a missionary. So thank you for working with Mr. Sempangi and Pastor Edward.

If there is anybody I know who truly feels for the common man - it is him. I'm excited about what God is doing and going to do through the ministry in Mukono.

I would like to support his work - I did not get to talk to him when he was recently here.

Praying with you for Uganda and all the unevangelized areas of the world,

Name withheld

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