Prophet Shepherd Bushiri of Enlighten Christian Gathering (ECG) church and his wife Mary have bounced back to the pulpit after a short break following the passing of their daughter, Saint Israella.
Bushiri announced this in a statement posted on his official Facebook seen by this publication. However, the return to the pulpit won't be as sweet as is it supposed to be as the clergy has fraud and rape cases to answer.
“My wife and I are delighted to inform you all that we are back from a short break we took from the pulpit following the passing of our daughter, Saint Israella.
“As you would recall, we took some days off to be with the Lord as the Lord was dealing with our faith and faithfulness. We also took opportunity of this break to be with family,” said Bushiri.
He added: “During the break we received beautiful words of comfort and encouragement from every corner of the globe. We do, immensely, value those words as they, indeed, helped us appreciate the depth of the love you have for us.
“We would like to specifically thank our leaders for ensuring that church services, across all our branches in 73 countries, remained intact and vibrant.”
Bushiri will tonight hold a Diplomatic Service.
Meanwhile, Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera who stands accused of helping Bushiri sneak out of South Africa where he was facing fraud and money laundering charges as werll as malawi's Vice President Saulos Chilima allegedly gave money to assist with the funeral expenses of the daughter of self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary Bushiri.
This was according to Bushiri's spokesperson Ephraim Nyondo.
Chakwera allegedly gave 1.2 million kwacha (around R22 000), while Chilima allegedly gave 1 million kwacha (around R18 400).
The eight-year-old Israella died in a Kenyan hospital on Monday morning.
Her remains landed at Kamuzu International Airport on Wednesday, followed by a memorial service to celebrate her life in Lilongwe, Malawi.
It is reported that Israella was laid to rest on Thursday.
Bushiri, leader of the Enlightened Christian Gathering Church (ECG), said that it was "very disheartening and sad, therefore, that his daughter has become a victim of the persecutions that we are facing from South Africa".
When approached for comment, Malawian presidential press secretary Brian Banda did not confirm or deny the matter.
"The president has no comment to make on any matters related to the death of a child. Out of respect for her grieving parents and their privacy, His Excellency has elected to not speak on the matter," Banda told News24.
The controversial Malawi-born “prophet” Shepherd Bushiri is facing a slew of criminal cases in this country including rape. The man of the cloth, who claims to possess supernatural powers to foresee things reportedly raped women and girls as young as 16, including two sisters; drugged some, bribed them into silence, and threatened others with murder in six years of jaw-dropping sexual violence, prosecutors have alleged.
The Mail & Guardian has exclusively sourced court records of the extradition request South Africa has sent to Malawi detailing crimes allegedly committed by Bushiri — leader of one of the most popular and richest churches on the continent, Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) — and his wife, Mary.
The eight counts of rape, dating back to 2016, have been added to charges of fraud, money-laundering, jumping bail and contravention of the foreign currency act that Bushiri was already facing before his escape in November last year.
Bushiri has rejected past allegations of rape, accusing Hawks officers of “intimidating women” to make the accusations. He also accuses the Hawks officers of extortion.