South African security personnel are being accused of travelling to Malawi to kidnap Prophet Shepherd Bushiri.
The Leader of Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) Jesus Nation Church and his wife, Mary, skipped bail in South Africa, where they were awaiting trial for money laundering and fraud.
The pair are the subject of an extradition process to bring them back to South Africa that is being heard in a court in Malawi.
Bushiri, also known as “‘Major 1”, insists he is innocent and only left South Africa because his life was in danger.
Soon after arriving in Malawi, Bushiri said he had received death threats while in South Africa, where he had intended to clear his name.
On Wednesday (7 September 2022) his spokesperson, Ephraim Nyondo, released a statement saying there had been kidnap attempts on the prophet.
“We are extremely dismayed and astonishingly shocked by continuous intrusion into the private space of Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and also attempts to kidnap him by some recognisable security personnel from South Africa,” said Nyondo.
“Through various tip-offs from well-wishers and our intelligence sources, we have it on record that these personnel from South Africa have been trailing the Prophet, to the extent of following him everywhere he goes under the guise of working under the ‘embassy’.”
Nyondo said the prophet has, lately, been through a series of suspicious incidents on his security to the point of involving the Malawi Police Service (MPS).
“We wish to underline here that we are well aware of their plot: we know where they lodge, we know their communication links, we know their local collaborators and we know their movements,” said Nyondo.
“It is shocking to note that some of the personnel involved in this scheme are the very same people that Prophet Bushiri opened intimidation and extortion cases against in South Africa in 2018.
“The Prophet suffered immensely at the machinations of these people in South Africa.”‘
In 2020, Buahiri testified in court that a Hawks official had been “sending girls to demand money from us and if we don’t give, she told the girls to go public and accuse us of raping them”.
Bushiri said he had reported the matter to several law-enforcement authorities. He told the court no action was taken.
Hawks spokesperson Brig Hangwani Mulaudzi admitted the elite crime busters were aware of the “serious allegations levelled” against one of their members.
Commenting on the matter, Nyondo said: “The South African justice system failed to apprehend these people even after numerous criminal cases opened against them and also reporting them to various state security bodies.
“This, if you recall, is the reason the Prophet left South Africa to seek justice in his home country and he is highly respectful of the court processes he is going through.
“We must underscore, here, that now that he is home and free, the Prophet will not allow to be bullied and intimidated by these people in his home country the way they did in South Africa. Never.
“In this vein, we wish to make it clear to these people to, with immediate effect, back off from Prophet Bushiri.”
Malawi National Police spokesperson Peter Kalaya said the police in that country have received a complaint from Bushiri alleging security agents from South Africa are plotting to kidnap him.