The ‘non secular Ponzi schemes’ bringing exponential wealth to African prophets | EUROtoday

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According to a pastor who was a longstanding colleague of Prophet Magaya, their success is constructed on creating highly effective character cults with a dictatorial hierarchy.

He remembers how the catalyst for Magaya’s transformation was a go to to Nigeria to fulfill with TB Joshua, Africa’s formative charismatic megachurch evangelist, whose YouTube channel grew to become essentially the most seen Christian ministry on the platform earlier than it was suspended for alleged homophobic hate speech.

Joshua’s affect stretched throughout the continent, inspiring Makandiwa, Magaya, Angel and lots of extra till his demise in June 2021.

All three have vehemently defended Joshua’s fame after he was accused of raping, abusing and torturing followers, together with kids, over a interval of 20 years, in a BBC documentary earlier this yr.

“We started off together as Catholic priests, and after we had both left, he invited me to join his own church,” recounted the pastor, who spoke on situation of anonymity due to security issues.

“He came back from Nigeria using oil or water which he had brought back, which he said had been blessed by Joshua, and that is when he started using the title of prophet.

“When I visited for the first time, I saw he was already commanding a huge following, and that lots of so-called ‘miracles’ were taking place at the altar.”

For the pastor, the scales fell from his eyes when Magaya afforded him a job as a counsellor to devotees who had paid for an intimate viewers.

He describes the VIPs he was interacting with as “very rich people who want the religion without the moral obligations”, who had been described as “Platinum or Gold Partners”.

“At the top you have powerful people with political clout,” he continues. “For me, they wanted to use religion as a cover. And then at the bottom we have desperate people whose only desire is to climb the ladder.

“When they perform healing miracles in front of the audience it is a performance that works as a branding mechanism. People are desperate for something good to happen in their lives. It is a psychological game, a manipulation. The prophets are untouchable.”

For some sincerely pious Christians, the unchecked monetary ambition of the dominant Pentecostal preachers in Harare has pushed them out.