(1952 - ?)
Sister Credonia Mwerinde, leader of Ugandan Marianist cult of the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments located in Kunungu murdered hundreds of her followers on March 17, 2000 by locking them in a worship facility called the ark that was pyrotechnically rigged. All doors and windows were secured so that none could escape and then the building was set afire. The official death toll was set at 738. The fire was so intense that the many of the victims’ skulls exploded. Their corpses, many of them children, were buried in several mass graves. Sister Credonia disappeared and has not as of this date been apprehended.
Credonia Mwerinde (False Prophet)
2022, Embroidery, thread, red silk, black velvet, fake gilded frame, 8 x 10 inches
Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God
The Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God was a religious movement founded by Credonia Mwerinde and Joseph Kibweteere in southwestern Uganda. It was formed in the late 1980s after Mwerinde and Kibweteere claimed that they had seen visions of the Virgin Mary. The five primary leaders were Joseph Kibweteere, Joseph Kasapurari, John Kamagara, Dominic Kataribabo, and Credonia Mwerinde.
The goals of the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God were to obey the Ten Commandments and preach the word of Jesus Christ. They taught that to avoid damnation in the apocalypse, one had to strictly follow the Commandments. The emphasis on the Commandments was so strong that the group discouraged talking, for fear of breaking the Ninth Commandment, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor", and on some days communication was only conducted in sign language. Fastingwas conducted regularly, and only one meal was eaten on Fridays and Mondays. Sex was forbidden, as was soap.
Movement leaders declared that the apocalypse would occur on December 31, 1999.
The group had a strong emphasis on an apocalyptic end time, highlighted by their booklet A Timely Message from Heaven: The End of the Present Time. New members were required to study it and be trained in its text, reading it as many as six times. They also taught that the Virgin Mary had a special role in the end, and that she also communicated with their leadership. They held themselves akin to Noah's Ark, a ship of righteousness in a sea of depravity.
The Movement developed a hierarchy of visionaries, topped by Mwerinde. Behind them were former priests who served as theologians and explained their messages. Although the group had split from the Catholic Church, had Catholic icons placed prominently, and defrocked priests and nuns in its leadership, ties to the Church were only tenuous.
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