On Monday, 5 February, controversial Malawian preacher, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri was featured in a BBC interview, where he appears to talk genuinely about how he motivates his followers.
In the video interview, Bushiri appears to strike a modest tone, saying that he is “just a messenger of his [God’s] preaching.”
The video goes on with Bushiri giving an insider’s perspective of prayer at his church: “When a person gets healed in our ministry, or in our church, we don’t take it as I have done that miracle. It’s God himself, it becomes a wonder even to me, God has done it. One time I called all doctors here in Pretoria to come and they brought HIV people, they tested that people before prayer, I prayed for them, and they tested again. And the people were negative, so I believe that God heals any sickness, any disease,” says the preacher. “I don’t think there is any sickness I can heal, but Jesus Christ can heal.”
Proud to be a great motivator to his followers, Bushiri says, “being a prophet who is a responsible man, who is a businessman, who is prospering, it’s actually a great motivation to my followers that they are actually inspired with what I am doing.”
Prophet Bushiri doesn’t believe he is doing anything wrong, and at one point defends himself saying, “so I don’t think if it was a bad thing my followers would be following my ministry.”
The video ends with him stressing once again the positive impact he has on his followers: “So it’s actually great motivation,” he says.
Bushiri, and his notorious Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church, which operates in many Southern African countries, is considered controversial due to Bushiri’s outlandish claims of miracles, his opulent lifestyle, and his run-ins with religious regulatory bodies.
In Botswana, he was the subject of a cease and desist order by the government of Botswana – his Enlightened Christian Gathering church was told to cease from operating in the country.
And in South Africa, where he is based, a university run by his church in Pretoria is the subject of a current investigation by the South African Department of Higher Education. The university is unregistered and unaccredited, but was allegedly running short courses.