A wave of self-proclaimed prophets and fly-by-night churches has hit Zimbabwe amid claims of miracles ranging from people “walking on water”, prophesies of an economic boom and such other self promoting religious acts, if not stunts.
Others claimed they had the power to produce miracle babies.
With the prophets capitalising on the gospel of prosperity, the list of the prophecies is endless. Some have claimed that they can double savings in one’s bank account. People are promised 24-hour miracles on the condition they give certain amounts of money.
Believers have lost expensive cars and houses which they gave as tithes. There are many reasons for the gullibility of church members to these tricks, however, Jesus in the Bible, Matthew 24:11 warned us that “many false prophets will arise, and mislead many”.
The Apostle John also advises us to “not believe every spirit, but to test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world…” (1 John 4:1-3).
Likewise, Apostle Paul exhorts us; “..see to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.
“For in Him all the fullness of the Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col. 2:8-9).
Recently, the Victory World International Ministries founder Paul Sanyangore who once made headlines for distributing “anointed” condoms to his female congregants before describing Jesus as a controversial person shocked the entire nation when he claimed that he had walked on water at a Harare swimming pool.
The swimming pool he allegedly walked on is now regarded as an “anointed” pool and desperate people are said to be queuing at the pond for deliverance.
Sanyangore told this publication recently that he usually performs miracles which are ‘mighty’ in secret to avoid ‘noise’ in the society.
“I am not a person who loves to show-off, some of the miracles, I performed them in secret and up to now very few people know about these acts.
“Operating in secret helps to avoid noise in society as some people do not believe even after seeing them happen,” said Sanyangore.
Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) Ministries leader and founder Walter Magaya once told this publication that 95 per cent of existing churches are faking.
“I can safely say only five per cent of the churches operating in the country are genuine, the bulk of them are formed for different reasons, some to make money while others for popularity,” said Magaya.
However, Sanyangore said there is no fake church on earth.
“Once the church is said to be fake, then it ceases to be a church. It should be given another name not church. I believe there are no fake churches. A church is a church,” said Sanyangore.
Magaya is on the other hand making headlines in the media for “delivering” crazy people in form of Garikayi Zindi of Rusape and building houses for them.
Eubert Angel also shocked the world when he posted a picture of himself and a man who was believed by many to be Jesus on his Instagram account.
The picture depicts a “bloody” and “dejected” looking “Jesus” sitting next to Prophet Angel and seemingly receiving guidance from the charismatic preacher.
The picture angered many Christians who widely believe that humans need Jesus more which is contrary to the picture which shows.
Angels’ picture portrayed Jesus as a pathetic, weak man against a self-assured, healthier Prophet Angel who seemed to be showing him the way by reading him some scriptures from the Bible.
In 2013, United Family International Church leader and founder Emmanuel Makandiwa performed a “three day-baby miracle” which shocked the world.
The baby was called Emmanuel Moffat and eventually died after six months.
Interestingly, a number of prophets, who have emerged over the past decade leading huge congregations, have professed having foreign spiritual fathers who anointed them to start prophesying.
Makandiwa and Angel’s spiritual father is Victor Kusi Boateng from Ghana, while Magaya has been reported as saying Nigeria’s TB Joshua was his spiritual father.
The prophets also sell to their followers anointing oils and wrist bands among other paraphernalia mostly imported from Nigeria and Ghana, which they claim have healing and deliverance powers.
Zimbabwe Assemblies of God Africa (Zaoga) founder Archbishop Dr Ezekiel Handinawangu Guti delivering a sermon during his church’s 55th anniversary commemorations in Bulawayo, took a swipe at emerging prophets who seek anointment from foreign spiritual fathers and import anointing oil for resale to church members.
In 2014, social media platforms including Facebook were awash with pictures depicting a man believed to be a pastor kissing the buttocks of a “desperate” group of naked women bent on a beach.
The women were anticipating a breakthrough in life; they wanted life partners (marriages) so the act was to ensure speed fulfilment of their desires.
The act left social media audiences shell shocked.
A controversial South African pastor, Lesego Daniel never ceases to amaze the world, he made his congregants drink petrol claiming it can miraculously turn into pineapple juice and the leader of the Rabboni Centre Ministries near Pretoria, is the same pastor who convinced his flock to eat or graze grass in anticipation of a “breakthrough” in life.
A Zimbabwean preacher based in the Diaspora Walter Masocha made headlines in international media after literally forcing women in his church to worship the ground he walked on.
A disappointed member of Masocha’s Agape for All Nations Church based in Sterling in the United Kingdom narrated how the “man-of God” enjoyed being surrounded by women he called “Daddy’s Dancing Girls”and would present them flannels soaked in his sweat as gifts.
Masocha was sentenced after being convicted of two se_x charges and pictures of desperate women throwing themselves on the ground were shown during his trial.
The “man-of-cloth” was reportedly habitually inviting women worshippers to private “surgeries” held in his bedroom but banned their husbands from attending.
Last year another “man-of-cloth” in form of Rev Rosbon Munamba sneaked past the borders from Botswana and murderedc his estranged girlfriend Rudo Bakasa 38, using corrosive acid.
Back home again, another controversial cleric Robert Martin Gumbura— founder of Independent End Time Message Church— whose dream was to have 100 children is currently serving a 40-year-jail sentence following his conviction on four counts of rape and contravening the Censorship Act.
In passing sentence, the magistrate described Gumbura as a “wolf in a sheep skin” who preyed on girls and women to gain se_xual favours.