The Midweek Sun



Behind Pastor Sakufiwa’s deportation * Love for money and women at the heart of it all * Had a penchant for lavish lifestyle Contrary to earlier media reports, Apostle Francis Sakufiwa of New Season Ministries was sent packing out of the country yesterday following a Presidential Order after he had spent four days in detention. Botswana immigration officers escorted the Zambian-born pastor out of the country in full view of well-wishers who included his former wife, Lorato, who were on hand to bid him goodbye at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport. Sakufiwa’s departure has left many who saw him as a toss between Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes and Prophet TB Joshua devastated and empty. However, those who have witnessed him in action tell the story of a man who was not only gifted with prophecy and preaching, but also a man who had a roving eye for women in his church. “He has broken so many hearts in his church,” says a male congregant. There had been constant fights between ‘sisters’ over the pastor, he says, adding that the trend at Sakufiwa’s church was that mostly women held high positions, which raised eyebrows.  It had always been a concern of male congregants why their female counterparts were always called to his office for counselling and meetings, according to the source. The church website states that Sakufiwa founded New Season Ministries with 22 members in 2005 after having served under a number of “great graces around the African Continent where God has used him extensively to pioneer the work of God in many countries.” A former IT Specialist, he received the call to go into ministry at the age of 17 years and it was not long before he was made a pastor at 19 years in his native country – Zambia, according to the website. This publication has been reliably informed that currently, membership stands close to 1000 thanks to his gift of deliverance, prophecy and preaching. He was once married to Lorato Sakufiwa, the current director of Women’s Shelter. Not so long ago, Sakufiwa openly lambasted some members of his congregation whom he said were making passes at him in church. It was reported in the media that he warned them not to be distracted by his “good looks” just because God had not yet chosen a wife for him. He also reportedly said some women had already approached him and claimed that God had shown them in their dreams that he was to be their husband. He is also said to have said some women were so obsessed with him that they were jealous whenever other church members greeted him. Other women, he said, were so desperate that they had sought traditional healers and sangomas’ powers to make him marry them. However, our deep throats say it was the other way round. Actually, his divorce was allegedly a result of his adulterous ways. A former friend of Sakufiwa said he left the church because of the pastor’s financial demands on his congregation, even though God loves a cheerful giver. At some point, the leader is said to have ordered after Sunday service that nobody leaves the church warehouse in CTM Complex without having paid offerings. “He emphasized money a lot when preaching in the church, which left much to be desired,” says another source. The source says he left along with many others who were also not happy with women leading the church and the pastor’s lavish lifestyle. An irate former member said he left the church in 2010 after discovering that Sakufiwa wanted to make New Season Ministry a celebrity church. Unlike many local pastors who are usually uneasy with the media, the man always called press conferences to announce church conferences. He has brought American loved pastors such as Paula White, Juanita Bynum and Charles Dixon to Botswana. At the time of his deportaion he was supposed to bring Benni Hinn in July. “As much as we appreciated the anointing from these powerful servants of God, our main worry was lack of consultation by our leader. In any case, the church paid for the air tickets and welfare of the visiting international pastors and also blessed them whenever they returned,” said yet another source.  Recently, the church hosted Malawian prophet Shepherd Bushiri who foretold a dark cloud over Botswana where no servant of God would want to visit the country in the near future. Accompanied by Sakufiwa and his large entourage in black Range Rovers, the man questioned the faith of Batswana and said they should soften their hearts and accept repentance. However, it remains to be seen what will happen to the church in Gaborone, but according to our sources, Sakufiwa’s deportation could mark the beginning of an unending power struggle since he was domineering in every church department. In addition, the church might also collapse. The Midweek Sun has learned that in 2009 Sakufiwa applied for membership with Evangelical Fellowship of Botswana (EFB), the umbrella body that registers Pentecostal churches in the country, but was turned down. EFB leaders Pastors, Matlhaope and Biggie Butale confirmed this yesterday, but could not divulge reasons.  Sakufiwa had not responded to questions sent to him by this reporter at the time of going to press.