HARARE – Flamboyant preacher Uebert Angel, born Uebert Mudzanire, says Zimbabwe’s dying economy will soon thrive again — going on to pooh-pooh bond notes which were introduced by President Robert Mugabe’s stone-broke government late last year to mitigate the country’s worsening cash crisis.
Well-known for his opulent lifestyle, the preacher — who was in the company of his wife Beverly — told a large crowd that attended controversial Malawian counterpart Shepherd Bushiri’s crusade at the City Sports Centre in Harare on Friday night that long-suffering Zimbabweans could expect a positive change in the country’s economic fortunes soon.
Before he was forced to leave for the United Kingdom three years ago, the 38-year-old Spirit Embassy Church founder had had a number of brushes with authorities, including being linked with so-called miracle money and being placed on the police wanted list on allegations of defrauding a Harare man of his luxury vehicle worth $300 000.
Angel's warrant of arrest involving the car was later cancelled by former provincial magistrate Vakai Chikwekwe after the complainant in the case indicated that he had opted for an out-of-court settlement with the then accused.
The charismatic preacher took a dig at his “enemies” on Friday, adding that only God could help Zimbabwe return to its former economic heydays.
“I now know my enemies who forced me out of this country without realising that they were dealing with a real man of God and I can identify them.
"You lost the plot because I went away and waited until your problems mount and you have your bond notes. So, now I am coming back and all that will change as I will prove that I am a real man of God,” Angel, who claims to be Bushiri’s spiritual father, said.
Zimbabwe introduced bond notes last November to try to ease the county's severe cash shortages, which have forced depositors to spend hours and days at banks queuing for their money.
Commenting on Angel’s claims that he was unjustly forced out of the country, Bushiri urged Zimbabweans to desist from denigrating prophets.
“People must not be in the habit of saying and passing denigrating comments about men of God, especially when that is not substantiated, because it does not please God,” he said.
In November last year, Bushiri told State Security minister Kembo Mohadi he would soon be promoted and wear a "crown" — adding that nothing would also happen to him despite alleged machinations by his rivals to bewitch and kill him.
“I am seeing you going higher and higher. Nothing bad will happen to you. I am seeing promotion coming your way. I am seeing a crown on your head because I am seeing the spiritual realm,” he said while Mohadi continuously said, “I receive, man of God”.
The "prophecy" was widely interpreted in the context of Zanu PF's ugly tribal, factional and succession wars.
Mugabe, who has studiously refused to anoint a successor, scoffed at the prophecy during a recent Zanu PF politburo meeting saying, "Surely you do not pay attention to these prophets, learned people like you?".
With Zimbabwe's economy continuing to die, amid worsening citizen poverty and suffering, some pentecostal churches fronted by dubious charismatic preachers are not only witnessing phenomenal growth, but also slowly morphing into big businesses.