The 35 years old leader whose rise to fame has been as dramatic as it is also controversial due to his claim of possessing supernatural powers to walk on air, deliver, heal and prophesy but many claim they are either paid for or camera edit.
After the stampede, the church came under attack for obstructing the end of justice when the bodies of the deceased were deposited to a mogue without the consent of the police nor the family. This led to a national protest to provoke the government to ask Prophet Shepherd Bushiri to leave South Africa. Following his arrest was the court charges for fraud and money laundering. This has also affected his wife who is also under arrest for various charges. They have been released on bail R100 000.
In a Facebook post, Prophet Bushiri said even his wife was poisoned to near death.
Having enjoyed so much fame and controversies, the question on peoples’ lips is that is this the end for the prophet? Is this persecution or is the prophet being exposed?
Last week Thursday, the ECG leader acknowledged that all is not well.
“The entire purpose of this address is to thank everybody who stood in solidarity with me and my wife in the past 5 weeks that we experienced situations after situations, starting with organised protests, to demands that I leave the country for which I am a permanent resident, to demands that the Pretoria branch be closed, my wife being poisoned to within an inch of her life, all the way to our incarceration.”
Prophet Shepherd Bushiri is one of the big names to rise at the turn of the millennium under a wave of a prophetic movement.
But having started in Mzuzu, Malawi in 2010, where his church is head-quartered before moving to Pretoria, South Africa, Prophet Bushiri has managed to grow his denomination across 178 countries.
Last year, Prophet Bushiri went on a whirlwind tour of the world to win souls for Christ, claiming over 2 million converts.
Major 1, as he is affectionately known, also has interests in Zimbabwe. He held a two-day church conference last month in Harare.
The preacher commands a huge following in Pretoria and Malawi where over 100 000 congregants gather every week.
He is also popular on social media with close to 4 million followers on Facebook. Millions across the world also watch his church services on his Prophetic Channel television station.
Apart from leading a big church, he is also a businessman through SB Investments head-quartered in Sandton, South Africa, with vast interests in real estate, mining, aviation, transportation and tourism industry.
He is one of the few businessmen across Africa or in the world who boast of owning luxury Gulf Stream private jets.
Prophet Bushiri also stirred debate in religious circles when he bought a R1 million Maserrati for his six-year old daughter.
Christian author and former publicist for Prophet Uerbert Angel of the Good News Church who is Bushiri’s spiritual mentor, Dr Brilliant Pongo opined that Bushiri’s arrest was proper prosecution rather than persecution.
Hundreds of the prophet’s followers protested against the HAWKS (South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) which targets organised crime, economic crime, corruption, and other serious crime). The protestors sprinkled anointed oils at vehicles claiming that the ‘man of God’ was being persecuted.
But Dr Pongo who worked closely with Prophet Bushiri’s spiritual father had no kind words.
“Today’s church has been polluted by charlatans and many think that when these characters are prosecuted for crimes, it’s tantamount to persecution. There is a world of difference between criminally prosecuting a prophet for fraud and the persecution that biblical prophets… please let’s not confuse ourselves and others by crying our prophet is being persecuted when in actuality he is being prosecuted for criminality,” he said.
Bushiri returned to his sermons at the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church at the weekend, telling his followers that nothing can stop the power of God. Followers of the controversial Prophet gathered in their thousands to hear their leader’s first Sunday sermon since his release from police custody
Only time can tell if Prophet Shepherd Bushiri is being prosecuted or persecuted!