ZIMBABWE – Popular televangelist and United Family International Church (Ufic) founder Emmanuel Makandiwa has reacted angrily to a newspaper advertisement purportedly congratulating him for being chosen among Zimbabwe’s most influential people.
Makandiwa was listed at number three by a United Kingdom-based website — www.mafaro.co.uk — out of 100 young Zimbabweans, in a list that has drawn scorn and ridicule.
Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries leader Walter Magaya was named as the most influential Zimbabwean under the age of 40 in the country. Magaya has accepted the honour.
On Friday a group calling itself “Sons and Daughters” published an advertisement in a local daily congratulating Makandiwa for the listing.
“Blessed indeed is the man who hears from God Almighty our Papa Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa,” read part of the advert.
“As sons and daughters of the prophet, we would like to congratulate you for being number 3 on 100 influential Zimbabweans in 2015.”
However, Makandiwa’s camp was not amused by the ‘congratulatory message’ and yesterday his spokesperson Prime Kufakunesu said it bordered on ‘terrorism.’
He said Makandiwa’s church did not generate the congratulatory message.
“The United Family International Church UFI) would like to disassociate Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa and the church at large from an advert (published) on 30 October 2015,” he said in a statement.
“The advert purportedly from the ‘sons and daughters’ to congratulate Prophet Makandiwa for being third in the category of the Most Influential Zimbabweans is the mischievous work of elements bent on tarnishing the image and person of Prophet Makandiwa whilst stroking the greedy egos of some publicity crazy figures.”
Kufakunesu said said Makandiwa had in the past been nominated for awards by “local and international organisations of repute such as (New African Magazine)” but had never accepted them.
“The church has never even used its own platform Christ TV to congratulate the man of God as we believe that it is recognition from God that counts more than anything else,” he said.
“It has also to be known that neither Prophet Makandiwa in his personal capacity nor UFIC on his behalf have accepted the nomination and or award because we do not understand what the award is about.
“The basic rule for accepting any award would be to know the standing of the issuing organisation (of which we do not) and to know the basis for the award (of which influence does not suffice because even the devil has influence) and we wish it to be known that it remains an unacknowledged award from our point of view.”
Kufakunesu said they suspected another church was behind the attack.
“Initial professional investigations show that the advert is the work of another church trying to magnify and glorify the bogus award,” he said.
Kufakunesu yesterday told The Standard that UFIC was aware of the culprits. However, he refused to identify them.
“We are checking if there is a criminal intent so that we can bring in the police,” Kufakunesu said.
Meanwhile, Magaya’s spokesperson Admire Mango said the evangelist felt humbled by the award coming from “an independent group of people who had no links at all to his PHD Ministries”.
“To us, it is humbling. The Lord has uplifted us. We give thanks to Him and our partners who have stood with us and supported our vision,” he told our sister paper NewsDay.
“We feel challenged by the award and pray that the Lord will continue to use us in the deliverance of His people through the man of God Walter Magaya.”
Mango reportedly said Magaya was inviting Zimbabweans to celebrate the award with him “on the Night of Turnaround” slated for November 6.
“We believe that this award will give zeal and enthusiasm to the man of God to take the ministry to greater heights. We are really humbled and we say thank you,” he said.
“We now realise how important the man of God is and that the ministry is touching many lives within and abroad,” Mango is quoted as having said.
Magaya last month told The Standard that he respected Makandiwa but there have been reports the two don’t see eye to eye.
“Prophet Makandiwa is older than me, he started his ministry earlier than me, and he is probably more mature than me. So I have nothing personal against him. He has not spoken ill of me and I have not done so as well,” Magaya said before adding.
“Yes, there is a silent war, especially with those that started earlier; they feel challenged at the rate at which we are growing.”
Mango was unavailable for comment yesterday.