The Government of Botswana has closed down the church of controversial self-styled prophet Shepherd Bushiri, Botswana media as well as the BBC reported Wednesday.
The Government of Botswana confirmed the closure of Bushiri’s Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG)Church in Gaborone, reportedly due to concerns over the so-called “miracle money”.
The Botswana Gazette, a leading weekly Botswana newspaper, reported that Bushiri had failed to submit annual returns as demanded by the country’s laws.
According to the newspaper, in a letter dated December 6 2017, the Registrar of Societies Michael Mokgausti said the church’s operations were revoked in terms of Section 11 (3) of that country’s Societies Act.
“I have this day cancelled your registration under the said act on the following grounds. Your society has not responded to the notice of the 10th November 2017 in which it was required to show reasons why it should not be cancelled,” Mokgausti said in the letter.
On November 10 last year, the church was asked to submit audited annual returns.
“In accordance with the Societies Act Chapter 18:01, Section 16 (1) as read with regulation 15 of the Act, your society was to submit to the Registrar of Societies annual returns by the 31 August 2017, which your society failed to do,” reads the notice in part.
Last year in April, a Botswana minister Edwin Batshu asked Bushiri – who now lives in South Africa – to apply for a visa to enter Botswana, despite Malawians not usually needing one.
When asked for a response yesterday, Bushiri’s spokesperson, Ephraim Nyondo, said he would issue a statement today.
Bushiri now runs churches from Ghana to South Africa. He claims to have cured people of HIV and brought people back from the dead as well as walking on air.
Last year, he sparked outrage when he went public and claimed that he could solve Malawi’s electricity crisis in a matter of days if given a chance.
His claims of miracles and flashy lifestyle has made him very popular on social media commanding a following of more than 2.3 million likes on Facebook alone.
He came under fire last year after it emerged he was charging between 1,000 and 25,000 rands ($80 and 2,000; £60 and 1,500) to attend a gala dinner with him.