DISCLAIMER: The author of this write-up is not an official mouthpiece of ECG or its related agencies and contents of this write-up do not, in any way, reflect the official explanation or stand of the ECG. Any consequences of this write-up, or questions thereto, must be directed to the author.
FACTS OF THE CIRCUMSTANCE
On the 28th of December, in the run up to the Crossover that was 30th December, congregants had gathered at the Pretoria Show Grounds for the ECG church Friday service. As usual, people gathered in thousands. Before the Main Hall and its Overflow were opened for the congregants, there was a special service (International School of Seers programme) for special stewards who are being mentored in the prophetic calling.
Suddenly, there was a heavy storm of rain whilst thousands were still waiting outside for the Main Hall and its Overflow to be opened. By this time, other destined “OverflHalls” (Hall D, Hall A, Hall C, Miracle Tent, and overflow of Miracle Tent) were already occupied by congregants. The coming of the rain storms forced the church marshals to immediately open the Main Hall and its Overflow.
Escaping the heavy rains and running for shelter, and while knowing that the space inside might not accommodate everyone who was outside, the congregants stormed through the Main Hall Overflow entrance, to achieve a space inside. This created a stampede that resulted into the tragedy whereupon 3 congregants unfortunately lost their lives. May their souls rest in peace!
A rain storm is an act of nature and no human being has control over an act of nature. The stampede which occurred as a result of this act of nature, therefore, stays beyond control given the outlined circumstances. In any stampede, people lose all physical autonomy and are being propelled forward by unstoppable forces from behind. In such conditions any slightest hiccup—someone tripping, someone fainting—can have catastrophic consequences.
This is what exactly happened in Malawi at Bingu National Stadium during the Malawi’s 53rd Independence Celebrations soccer event on July 6, 2017 where 8 young lives were lost to a stampede, leaving 48 others with serious injuries. It also happened at Ellis Park Stadium in South Africa on 11th April 2001 where 48 people were left dead in a stampede. On 29th July 2017 (or there about), a stampede also occurred at FNB stadium in South Africa when Kaizer Chiefs was playing against Orlando Pirates, during which 2 people were crushed dead.
In other jurisdictions, a disastrous stamped occurred in 1989 at Hillsborough Stadium, in Sheffield, England, at the start of a semi-final championship soccer game between the Liverpool and Nottingham Forest football clubs. The resulting crush killed 96 people and about 300 others were seriously injured. In Duisburg, Germany, 21 people died and more than 500 were injured in 2010 at the entrance to a music festival called the Love Parade.
Well, those are secular events, one may argue. But the coming of that argument needs to know that stampedes and disasters have also occurred at religious gatherings across the globe including Christian and Islamic gatherings. The Islamic annual religious gathering in Saudi Arabia, for example, is replete with stampede disasters which result in unfortunate deaths.
For sample record, in 1994, a crowd crush killed at least 270 pilgrims at the Jamarat pillars, in Mina. In 1997 a fire broke out in Mina, incinerating 70,000 tents. As the huge crowds fled the fire, more than 300 people died in a stampede by crushing. In 1998, 118 pilgrims were crushed to death there. In 2001, the toll was 35. In 2003, it was 14. The next year, it was 251. In 2015, more than 2,400 people were trampled and crushed to death in a period of about 10 minutes. In Iraq—August 31, 2005—when a million Shiite pilgrims gathered at a Baghdad shrine and rumor spread of an impending suicide attack. It resulted into a stampede which left 965 people dead.
Death by crowd crushing (very painful as it is) has occurred in Afghanistan, Angola, Austria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (D.R.C.), Denmark, Egypt, England, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, the Philippines, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Senegal, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Tanzania, Togo, the United States, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. In those crushes, more than 10, 000 people have died.
CAUSES OF STAMPADE
In all these accounted stampedes across the globe, two forms of crowd movement lead to crushes. The first form is known as a “craze,” when large groups of people move forward in the rational hope of attaining a benefit—food handouts, proximity to a band on a stage, discounts at a big-box store, or, for that matter, the completion of a ritual during the hajj. The second form is known as a “flight response,” when large groups move away from a perceived or real threat. In the case of the stampede that occurred at ECG and claimed 3 lives, people were escaping rain storm and were scrambling for a safe space. The cause, therefore intersects the two forms whilst leaning heavily towards the former. It is in such circumstance that I conclude with the view that the stampede was provoked by an act of nature and no human being has control over nature.
WHY DIDN’T THE PROPHET SEE ALL THIS COMING AND TAKE MEASURES TO AVOID?
Undoubtedly, this is the popular question now, as evidenced by numerous insensitive comments by some people. What needs to be known by people sharing this question is that a prophet is NOT God Himself. God has an attribute of exclusivity in which He, sometimes, hide His will and moves from all creation including His angels and His only son Jesus. A good example is in Matthew 24:36 as also read in Mark 13:32. The scripture says for that day or hour, no one knows, not even angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. The day and/or the hour being referred to here is that of second coming of Jesus, yet it is hidden from Jesus Himself.
Daniel is one of the prophets of the old times to whom God said: “Go away Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time.” (Daniel 12:9). In the Book of 2 Kings 4:27, there is an incident whereby prophet Elisha (one of the great prophets of the old times) raised a dead son of a Shunammite woman. The said woman went to prophet Elisha at the mountain to report of the death of her son. When she reached to prophet Elisha, the woman clung to his feet and a protocol of prophet Elisha came over to push her away, but Elisha said: “Leave her alone, for her soul is in deep distress, and the Lord has hidden it from me and has told me not.” Here, God did not reveal to prophet Elisha that the Shunammite woman’s son would die. This was despite the prophet Elisha was, at this particular time, given accommodation by this Shunammite woman.
The exploration of this and several other scriptures in the Bible settles to a conclusion that God has his mysteries which are, in His adjudication, kept away from the knowledge of man including His servants the prophets. Is anyone, therefore, justified in expecting the prophets to know all mysteries? How?
COMMENT GOING TO SABC
The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has misrepresented facts in its LIVE coverage of the demonstrations. In its LIVE reporting yesterday (Friday – the 4th January 2019), the SABC announced that congregants were refused entry into the Showgrounds premises by the demonstrators. The report said that the refused congregants were going for the usual Friday service at ECG. THIS IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE. The ECG is currently on holiday which was announced in the early hours of the 1st January 2019 towards the end of the Crossover service. Thus the holiday began thereon (1st January) and will end on 20th January 2019. This goes to indicate that the demonstrators were carrying their activity whilst the ECG is on closure. The SABC report, therefore stands disputed and dismissed as misinformed to this extent. Furthermore, the SABC reporter erroneously described Major 1 as “Pastor Bushiri”. We do not have “Pastor Bushiri” at or in ECG. We have prophet Shepherd Bushiri as the founder and leader of the ECG. I trust that given their good reputation and professed professionalism, the SABC will take time to cross-check these facts and make necessary amendments to the associated report.
I wish to exit the post by wishing the families of those who lost their lives to this stampade, an encouragement and comfort from the Lord. To themselves who have lost the lives, I wish you eternal peace and comfort in the Lord for you died in His presence and while on errand to worship Him. Condolences must also go to the entire ECG family for the tragedy and loss. We take refuge in the fact that God has a grip of us.
Long Live ECG
Long Live Major 1
We love you