Zimbabwean prophets are increasingly coming under scrutiny after the scandals that have followed prophets across the Limpopo.
South African prophets have made the headlines for the wrong reasons after Prophet Bushiri was arrested for money-laundering while Prophet Lukau allegedly faked raising a man from the dead.
Zimbabwe Council of Churches secretary-general Kenneth Mtata said:
… there has been a rise in people given different titles in the past decade and who have redefined conventional Christians at a number of levels.
They claim to have special knowledge about God … because of the special insight is allegedly given to them by God … and since they have some special knowledge, their followers must depend on them for decisions, be it in business, politics and family life.
It is this group of people who have found a way of manipulating many people who are desperate … and have managed to tap into the African Traditional Religion where the understanding among Africans is that for someone to succeed there must be some supernatural influence from outside, and if someone is not succeeding it means that there are some negative supernatural forces that must be overcome.
So, there is an interesting syncretism that has developed in the last 15 or so years, and this kind of Christianity is the one we are seeing manifesting in different forms of chicanery and manipulation and the miracles that are purported to have been performed as we have seen. Regulating religion is very difficult especially if your Constitution allows the freedom of religion and worship, and so to put restrictions on religion will be against the Constitution.
What could be put as a requirement is that all churches should affiliate to one of the mother bodies so that there is mutual accountability. This is what I think could address the problem.
Local prophets, Emmanuel Makandiwa and Walter Magaya had their own scandals, ranging from allegations of being involved in gold mine kidnap and torture, as well as selling “fake’ AIDS drugs.