Followers of South Africa-based Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG)’s leader, Prophet Shepherd ‘Major One’ Bushiri in Botswana are in Pretoria today (Wednesday) in large numbers to support him at court.
Major One and his wife Mary Bushiri made a brief appearance on Monday in the Commercials Crimes Court in Pretoria on charges of fraud, money laundering and contravening the Prevention of Organised Crimes Act. The case was postponed to Wednesday for further police investigations.
Pastor Baeng Pelotshweu, General Secretary and national coordinator of the church in Botswana told The Midweek Sun this week that they will be in Pretoria to rally behind their ‘father.’ He described him as a frontline soldier in a broad battle of the entire system of the new revival.
During a recent interview with this publication, he made it loud and clear that they will always stand with their prophet, regardless of what he had done. “Just like Elisha who followed Elijah, we have no doubt that Major One is a prophet of the Most High God. We are his stewards. We don’t listen to any stories about him, and we don’t care what he has done or what people say. We will always protect and defend him. We care about him and the God he serves and we’re not ashamed to defend him,” he said.
Today as he appears in court with his wife, his Batswana followers would not miss it for a thing. “We are his stewards or sons and daughters. We are strong and we believe he shall be free,” he said. Pastor Pelotshweu said that Major One’s arrest did not surprise them because it is something he had long prophesied. “Since 2017, he has been warning that there’ll be a time when he’ll be persecuted and put into prison. That things will be very bad. And that despite the attacks, the church will continue to grow,” he said.
His take is that Major One is under attack because churches are losing members to his. “It’s just individuals, pressure groups, especially other churches that are losing members to him. These big numbers coming to Major One were once members somewhere else.
“People dying is not an issue. Even here in Botswana, there have been incidents during gatherings where people lost their lives,” he said, adding that ECG crisis is also fuelled by xenophobia in SA.
He said that even though the accusations have to do with Bushiri’s personal transactions, as his followers, they will always stand up and defend him because ‘it is impossible to separate him from us.’
Meanwhile, Bushiri’s followers on Monday rallied outside the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court, reciting prayers and hymns, accusing officials of harbouring a vendetta against him.
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Malaudzi told the media that Bushiri’s charges relate to incidents in 2015 relating to exchange control regulations in foreign currency amounting to $1,147, 200 (about R15.3m).