Cape Town – If you’ve just stepped off a spaceship and are wondering what all the fuss is about surrounding self-proclaimed Malawian prophet Shepherd Bushiri, here is a brief synopsis of the last few weeks’ events of the developing story.
Born Chipiliro Gama, the 37 year old Bushiri, also known as Major 1, is a businessman and preacher who founded and leads the Enlightened Christian Gathering church (ECG).
ECG’s headquarters are in South Africa’s capital Pretoria, with more branches located in other African countries and further abroad.
On the ECG official website, Bushiri describes his church as a prophetic ministry based on the principle that God cares and loves people and wants to speak directly to them.
In addition to his ministry, the self proclaimed prophet runs investment company Shepherd Bushiri Investments (Pty) Ltd, based in Johannesburg’s wealthy Sandton district, where he has interests in mining, real estate, an airline and other entrepreneurial pursuits.
Bushiri and his wife Mary are wanted in South Africa on charges including fraud and money laundering.
A week ago, the couple left South Africa under mysterious circumstances and fled to their home country Malawi, breaching their bail conditions.
A statement issued by South Africa’s Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi said the Bushiris had five passports each, issued in Malawi. Motsoaledi insisted that his department was not to blame for the pair fleeing South Africa.
Bushiri took to social media recently to maintain his innocence, while also stating that he did not expect to get a fair trial in South Africa.
After spending a night in police custody in Malawi, local media reported that a magistrate had released Bushiri and his wife, saying their arrest was illegal.
The couple has lost their R5.5 million (nearly US$35 000) property in Centurion, South Africa after failing to appear in court in their fraud and money laundering case.
The Bushiris’ legal woes are set to continue, after South Africa’s Justice Minister Ronald Lamola announced on Thursday that his government would do everything possible to make sure that they were brought back to face trial.
African New Agency (ANA)