The Sunday News
Peter Matika, Senior Reporter
MALAWIAN Prophet Shepherd Bushiri has disowned the church he founded in Zimbabwe after it came under fire from HIV and Aids as well as child activists for exposing a child living with HIV, by posting a picture of him on their Facebook page, claiming to have healed the minor of the disease.
Prophet Bushiri has disowned Enlightened Christian Gathering Church (ECG) in Zimbabwe, saying the church was not registered under his flagship.
Despite the denial, the church was officially launched by prophet Bushiri’s wife, Prophetess Mary Bushiri in May last year where thousands of people attended. During the official opening which was attended by an estimated 15 000 people in Bulawayo, Prophetess Bushiri even announced plans to grow the church in the country.
“I didn’t expect this in Bulawayo. This is like in Pretoria. Through the power and grace of God I declare that this church will be bigger in the next two months,” she said, adding there were plans to build a mega church complex in Bulawayo.
However, after last week’s story in which the church was accused of using a small boy to market itself after posting on their Faceboook page that he had been healed of HIV, church authorities said the church was not linked to Prophet Bushiri.
“It boils down to what defines a church and what activities constitute a church service. We do not have a church in Zimbabwe. You can do a search with the relevant registrar or check with council of churches register. As such — we are not registered here and therefore do not have a church. Our church is in Pretoria. Having said that we have members all over the world.
They are free to meet, fellowship as cells. The prophet was in USA this week. He is in South Korea now. He is meeting people, preaching and conducting sermons, does that automatically mean we have a church there,” said Mr Maynard Manyowa, Prophet Bushiri’s external media personnel.
Quizzed about violation of child rights Mr Manyowa said he could not answer questions with no reference.
“I cannot answer about a human rights issue, which you have not even furnished me with. That said as well, I am curious how human rights violations can occur in a religious setting? You do realise that only a state can violate your rights right?
Anything else would be criminal deprivation. For example if I, an ordinary citizen, kill a person — it is called murder. The act of killing is a violation of human rights when it is perpetuated systematically and by the state or its arms,” he said.
Last week the church came under fire from HIV and Aids and child activists after it exposed a child living with HIV, by posting a picture of him on their Facebook page, claiming to have healed the minor of the disease.