POPULAR Malawian cleric, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri is reported to have shown the exit door to several of his Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church ministers for purpotedly scheming against him as internal turmoil continues to rock his South African chapel.
Reports indicate that Bushiri axed his ECG understudies earlier this month after receiving intelligence purpoting that the church ministers were bent on causing confusion and divisions within the church.
The axed renegade church ministers are accused of secretly creating a group chat on WhatsApp where Bushiri was widely denigrated.
Like many other church leaders globally, the church ministers are in a fix, with little or no financial backing, at all.
South African tabloid Dailysun reported that the irretrievably collapsed working relationship between Bushiri and his dismissed subordinates came to light following a leaked audio recording in circulation on social media.
Bushiri can be heard, in the audio recording, confirming the existence of a WhatsApp group in which the participants attack him.
Meanwhile, some of the controversially red-carded church ministers have opened up on the recent developments. Whilst acknowledging the existence of the WhatsApp group in question, one pastor squashed reports insinuating that the group chat was created to cause disunity in the ECG.
Instead, the pastor claims, the agenda of the group was to find ways of seeking financial help from their controversial leader in light of the Covid19 induced lockdown which effectively banned the holding church services.
‘The agenda of the group was to ask him for money because we’re struggling and running out of food since we’re unable to hold services and the church isn’t paying us salaries,’ the unnamed pastor revealed.
It is also reported that Bushiri’s pastors are now facing dire straits and rendered virtually bankrupt after the effective interdiction of religious gatherings during the lockdown.
And to make matters worse, their financial challenges have been compounded by the fact that tithes now go straight to Bushiri whilst their sole source of income in church offerings has been plagued by the lockdown induced ban on services.
Online reports suggested that the ‘bankrupt’ pastors were also left in a quandary after the church could not make travel arrangements to facilitate their post-expulsion return to native Malawi.
A long-serving ECG pastor, with Bushiri for a decade now, said he felt betrayed by the controversy-ridden Bushiri following the expulsions.
‘We now have to serve under a different ministry or start our own church. Rent for houses we live in is paid by the church. We can be kicked out at any time. We supported him while he was conducting services under a tree. We can’t do anything. He has money and power. Even transport we were promised to take us home has been cancelled,” the pastor was quoted as saying.
Added the ECG man-of-the-cloth:
“I’m not bitter, but frustrated that all the years I have served under him were in vain. He knows the truth deep down inside.”
While confirming the dismissals, Bushiri’s publicist Ephraim Nyondo said if the pastors have any grievances, there were internal structures mandated to address such issues.
Additional Reporting: Zwnews