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Zimbabwe’s bane: False prophets, unwise prophets and “Papa”

By Sekuru Phinda Mzala

A false prophet refers to a person who purports to know details about situations from a Divine source and makes declarations on the strength of that source concerning the future. The outcome is a false one.

Prophets Emmanuel Makandiwa and Walter Magaya
Prophets Emmanuel Makandiwa and Walter Magaya

An unwise prophet on the other hand, is one who at the instigation of some stimuli makes predictions some of which turn out true and some which turn out wrong. This is because they sometimes speak under Divine inspiration and at other times under personal inspiration. Zimbabwe is presently faced with the dilemma of these two groups of ‘prophets’ who are ever dominating the media space.

Without mentioning names it is prudent to note that these prophets have come with a brand of Christianity unknown to the nation. There are certain characteristics of these prophets that stick out when one analyses their mega-ministries.

Firstly, they are very keen on media coverage and in some instances are well-known to pay journalists for good media coverage. There is a real desperation for prominence and at times they operate on the Donald Trump principle of “no publicity is bad publicity”.

Secondly, they may do or may have done some miracles, but there is a hyping of everything. There is no healing that can take place without their TV networks advertising it without end.

Thirdly, there is all manner of unsubstantiated claims of miracles like one disgraced prophet now based abroad who claims to have raised up 20 people. The identity of all the resurrected persons remains unknown to this day. Fourthly, there is an economy the prophets run on their own like selling of wares meant to bring healing or blessing.

The parallel economies they run are huge. A simple calculation will show that rubber wrist bands sourced at US$0.26c per unit are sold at US$5. Of course in order to keep the revenue spinning machines running, the list of miracle charms is without end; anointed pens, candles, notebooks, soap and even anointed underwear make up the list.

It is also noteworthy that there is very little emphasis of the Bible as the authority in these mega-ministries. The prophets dubbed “Papa” are deemed to speak words that are far more important and have greater authority than the Bible.

So is it any wonder then that when “Papa” makes a statement, that statement is printed on bumper stickers and T-shirts and on other church blogs? These statements on bumper stickers are sold off and are part of the money-spinning model of these mega-ministries.

There is a real worship of the “Papa” by their erstwhile followers.  I recall an incident when followers fell prostate when one of the mega prophets visited Bulawayo and  followers at the airport fell on their knees to try and touch “Papa’s” shoes for a blessing.

It goes without saying that an audience with “Papa” can only be arranged after parting with dollars. As a result, thousands are being made, as thousands of followers want “Papa” to end their suffering. Whatever happened to looking to the Bible for solutions?

Lastly, there is a growing fanaticism “Papa” that members will kill in defence of their spiritual leaders. Remember this as a Church which is supposed to be built around the Lord Jesus, but this one is built around an individual.

False prophets always draw people to themselves, whereas lessons in the Bible show us that genuine prophets like Elijah and Elisha directed people to GOD. The sad part about many of these mega-ministries is that they bring division into families as they teach things that separate people.

In the economic trauma centre which Zimbabwe finds itself in, the false prophets are now looking for relevance and an ear to further their claims and agendas. Only this week a popular prophet has come out with a prophecy that he sees chaos and strife. This is the same prophet who recently endorsed the looming introduction of bond notes and gave a ‘word’ of how good the bond notes would be for the economy.

Earlier in the year he also prophesied economic abundance lay ahead. The thousands of cars driving around with his prophecy of how 2016 would be “a year of abundance and overflow” are evidence of that. Are God’s servants seeing double-double?

Zimbabwe is plagued by false prophets, unwise prophets and the ever-growing “Papa” syndrome. This toxic mixture is adding further to the confusion prevailing among the country’s citizens.

I have been a Christian for more than 30 years and in that time I have met genuine prophets of God in Zimbabwe who never run to the papers, never market miracles they do and have never uttered self-serving cheap prophetic words that promote them at the expense of the integrity of God’s Word.

It’s time to take wake and see these false prophets for who they really are!

Sekuru Phinda Mzala is a freelance writer and a satirical poet. He is a traveller who speaks from a diversity of influences and speaks into both the secular and spiritual arenas of life. He is reachable on sekuruphindamzala@gmail.com