by Cde Taona Moto
THIS week Zimbabweans went into paroxysms of laughter after it emerged that one Harare couple was suing Walter Magaya, the popular leader of Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) Ministries for $2 million after the self-styled prophet—despite being showered with expensive gifts and cash—not just failed to deliver of a “prophesy” that the business couple would be blessed with an airline business, but also went on to hire goons to beat and harass them.
Media reports say Upenyu Mashangwa, and his wife, Blessing, are seeking to recover a Land rover Discovery 4 vehicle valued at R890 000 and $15 000 they “seeded” in cash after the man of cloth had allegedly given them a prophesy that they would be blessed with an airline firm.
The case is similar to another in which another Harare businessman, Ndabazinengi Shava, who is suing another Zimbabwean “Prophet” Eubert Angel of Spirit Embassy Ministries claiming he was fleeced of his Bentley Continental vehicle valued at $300 000 under a similar modus operandi.
It is not surprising that as part of their claim, the “airline couple” is demanding $1 million from Magaya for “ for contumelia, deprivation of freedom and mental anguish… among a whole gamut of other things.
Naturally when the “prophesy” was unveiled, the husband and wife couple could not sleep, repeatedly pinching one another to make sure that they were indeed not dreaming… telling each other how they would be running the airline, while busy reading and researching about everything aviation… all the time rubbing their bellies in gleeful anticipation!
And suddenly, that whole “prophesy” is not only turning out to be bottled smoke, but they only realise this after losing a lot in both cash and kind—and worse they are being stalked by thugs—they will end up feeding an army of top-dollar lawyers too!
Shona sages have a saying: Seka urema wafa… one can only laugh at another’s misfortune from the safety of the grave. When things happen the way they did to the Mashangwas and Shava—who claim they only discovered too late that they were dealing with snake-oil salesmen—we should never, ever laugh because that can happen to anyone, especially when we are in the pincers of desperation. Just like in love, one cannot say they are fool proof.
The magnet of hope is a powerful one, moreso when it is given a bit of religious colouration. It does not matter what religious beliefs they are, but actualities on the ground are that those who wield this magnet are wily and secretive. But their messages are couched in the same sweet language… the poor get rich, the ill get healthy, the dying are saved, the lonely find love, etc, etc. In the rush of holy euphoria (and desperation) the devotees can do anything to please the priests of these religions… from eating grass to make all sorts of donations. Some men have been reported to force their wives to having sex with these priests (not mentioning millions of supposedly normal women who only realised the truth long after volunteering themselves!).
There are no enterprises as brisk in this world as after-life insurance and getting-rich-quick businesses.
When we fall in love or when desperation gets us entranced in religion, we easily become stupid. Stupidity rules because there is a huge market for it in this world.
Zimbabweans will for a long time hilariously laugh at the mention of the name “Sekuru” Rotina Mavhunga—a.k.a Nomatter Tagarira—the Grade three school drop-out n’anga that, in 2007, prompted President Robert Mugabe to chair a special Cabinet meeting to discuss her “diesel” find which she claimed the ancestors—seeing how the country was being made to needlessly suffer by the evil British and their allies—had decided to bless the country with.
Zimbabwe was then in the throes of a fuel crisis and in desperation. This resulted in Cabinet setting up a special taskforce to follow on the “blessing” that God and the gods were delivering through “Sekuru” Mavhunga!
A high-powered delegation, comprising several Cabinet ministers and some senior members of the security sector hurriedly followed the female n’anga in a 50-car convoy to her shrine in the Maningwa Hills near Chinhoyi where she showed them a “miracle” of how possible it was to draw pure diesel from a rock.
She then proceeded to take the overjoyed delegation on a tour of the “oil-fields”, a trip 150 km up-north to Makuti Hills before winding her joyride in Kariba, another 80 km further West.
Mavhunga became an instant hit with most senior government officials—most of them steeped in baroque superstition—who pampered her with a farm, a car, cash and other gifts as most of them stampeded to take her to their respective homes so she could conduct rituals that the believed would make them strong and powerful politically.
It was later discovered that the “diesel n’anga” had led whole government of degreed leaders up the garden path… everything had been staged, there was no diesel and for that she was jailed for 39 months.
Before the “Diesel N’anga” debacle, there had been another con artist, the late Edina Chizema, popularly known as Mbuya Madhuve—who moonlighted as a ZANU-PF praise-singer—had fleeced another Harare businesswoman, Margaret Mapfumo, of over Z$200 million (US$200 000) claiming she needed the money to import some mermaids that were needed to cleanse the victim’s homestead of evil spirits.
Whoever said he who expects nothing would never be disappointed could, after all, have been right. Because we love things, we will continue hearing of these bizarre stories.