By Maynard Manyowa
If Prophet Shepherd Bushiri is into any business with humanity, it is the business of making millionaires out humanity. I do not need to be a Christian myself to see that he has helped millions of people and asked for nothing in return. Always willing to share his wealth and teach, it is unfair that he faces criticism from hoodlum satire websites.
I am not a Christian, and this is well known, and well publicized too. I walked away from religion several years ago. I am an atheist and unwaveringly so. It is what makes sense to me.
I have continued to hold an obvious fascination with religion, and have continued to study it in multiple forms and some original ones too. Safe to say, I am a student of all religions, but an adherent of none.
Matters of faith are important to people, and as a former student of psychology, and a social commentator, I have retained a keen interest in religion. I always joke about with my mother, and my friends, that I know their bible more than them, and comfortably so.
On social media, they often tag me in biblical debates, to weigh in with context about scripture, especially through an unfiltered lens.
But that is not the matter of this particular article.
What has interested me is the small of matter of cognitive dissonance. In loose psychological terms, cognitive dissonance is a mental tendency to reject the helpful truth in preference of a comfortable lie.
For example, an abused spouse may well reject the obvious depiction of her partner as a destructive person who will only leave her belly up. The reason for this rejection is that, it is much more palatable to imagine one’s spouse as loving and caring, even if acknowledging their true nature will lead to salvation.
You might wonder how this links with religion. Well, it is a truism that religion, and especially Christianity has been populated if not poisoned by fake hustlers masquerading as pastors. These men fleece their congregants, and often make their congregants do the vilest and disgusting things.
But among them, are a few good men, whose actions when viewed and assessed truthfully seem to indicate that they are humble, noble, and caring men whose main agenda is to help people.
Yet for some reason, these men are targeted by critics, left, right and center. No matter how much good is apparent in them, they are still hounded and painted black.
For this, some few adherents reject them outrightly. Even when the truth is presented to them in very obvious manners.
One such men is Malawian born but South African based Prophet, Shepherd Bushiri.
I have never met Prophet Bushiri, personally on in any other matter or form. I first heard about him a few years ago through a satire blog which makes money from sledging pastors for profit. The irony being the website which makes fun of ‘fake’ pastors often creates fake stories about pastors to make a killing off the traffic.
At the time, Prophet Bushiri was ‘accussed’ of making money from people and some shocking miracles.
As a sensible man, my first reaction was to do a background check on the claims. As an investigative journalist I made some useful contacts in his finance departments to solicit information on just how much he made from a single church service, tithes, and monthly partnerships.
I was shocked to find out that at the time, the money the church made from tithes and offerings over 4 Sunday services was not enough to pay for the rentals of the actual building for just one service. This before having to pay for amenities, pastor’s salaries, and staff.
What was even more amazing was how Prophet Bushiri himself was the biggest contributor of tithe and partnership in his own church.
In simple words, it was (is) financially impossible to make money from his church. If anything, the church is able to remain on its two feet because Bushiri himself often has to contribute to pay expenses.
In any case, most of the people who attend his church do so for deliverance and prayers, so that they can get a financial breakthrough. In other words, Bushiri is ‘making millioniares’ and people go to church so that they can ‘become gracious partakers of their destiny and make millions’.
This is quite the opposite from the accusations I had been reading all around the internet and newspapers.
I took some time to find out more on Bushiri’s personal worth, and the actual value of his person – net worth.
The devil was in the numbers. Over the year I travelled to Malawi, South Africa, UK, and some other countries tracing his estate, the figures I found are irreconcilable with the notion that the man makes money from his church.
In simpler terms, Prophet Bushiri could easily be among the richest men in Africa. The kind of wealth he is reported to have is hundred folds more than the wealth he actually has. Such kind of money cannot be made from church donations.
I did find another thing, while looking at the man. Over the last few years, he has donated maize and critical food stuffs to people in starving nations, at the levels that have and can easily challenge USAID or UNICEF
I wondered why he never publicized all of this. Till someone who knew him said, “he is a helper and a giver”.
Whatever the yardstick used, critics of Prophet Shepherd Bushiri sing from their own hearts, and are perhaps ignorant of the kind of wealth he has, and the lengths he has gone to help starving people in Malawi, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, etc…
He is actually a good man, and it is rather sad how people who fight him are fighting their own success story.
I am confident that if Bushiri is into any business with humanity, it is the business of making millionaires out humanity. I do not need to be a Christian myself to see this.
- Maynard Manyowa is a political analyst and a social commentator. Article appears on Khuluma Afrika, and News 24.