Fugitive Shepherd Bushiri, a self-styled Malawian prophet, says he would only return to South Africa provided officials guarantee not to “poison” him.
Nevertheless, for the time being, it’s business as usual in his new base in Malawi, with unconfirmed reports that tens of thousands of devotees from across the world visit him in Malawi on a weekly basis for spiritual healing.
According to an article on News24 Ephraim Nyondo, Bushiri’s spokesman, stated that if South Africa satisfies the criteria for his safety and assures that he would be tried rather than poisoned like the last time, he will return.
South Africa, according to an ECG spokesman, has been the largest loser in all this. He claimed without evidence that ECG (Enlightened Christian Gathering Church) was attracting 10,000 people to Malawi every week.
This number implies that ECG hosts over 40 000 people in a month and is hard to verify especially with the current Covid pandemic and travel restictions.
He also stated that Bushiri was poisoned in detention and that this was the reason he left as well, without presenting any evidence.
After being granted bail by the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court in regard to fraud and money laundering, Bushiri and his wife, Mary, fled to Malawi in November 2020. He is also facing extradition proceedings, but no date for his trial in Malawi has been scheduled yet.
Malawi permitted churches to conduct physical services last week, and Bushiri claims that South Africa is “the largest casualty” since his supporters are flying into Malawi for his International Visitors Program instead of visiting there.
According to Malawian media sources, Bushiri is the country’s newest tourist booster since he welcomes visitors from all over the world. According to estimates, international tourists have turned Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital, into a tourism hotspot.