Govt and Bushiri church reconcile?

  • Bushiri could be coming to Botswana soon
  • South Africans push Bushiri out
  • Govt and Bushiri in active, progressive engagements – ECG Botswana
  • Six Batswana involved in ECG stampede


Reconciliation talks between government and the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) over opening up doors for the church’s founder and senior prophet Shepherd Bushiri have been described as ‘active and very progressive’ by leaders of ECG Botswana.

In 2017, Bushiri was put under Visa restriction. Reports suggested that Bushiri was slapped with visa requirements because he was “too demanding”. The former Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs Edwin Batshu told Parliament at the time that Bushiri wanted security provision while in the country and wanted the government to direct for all the borders to be opened 24 hours.

Late last year, former minister in the same ministry Dorcus Makgatotold parliament that government had no plans to review deportation orders and visa requirements on certain foreign pastors in the near future.

However, according to ECG Botswana Secretary General Pelotsweu Baeng, the church has been in constant engagements with government to try change their stance on their spiritual leader.

“All i can say is that there has been a regular engagement with government and these are active and very productive engagements. For the sake and respect to both parties, i will not comment much on this matter,”Baeng told Botswana Gazette.

When pressed further he said “For whether, the prophet could soon be allowed to come into the country or any other development, i cannot say much because, it is a matter that is between us and government, we will not make any comments now, but if there are any new developments we will call you for a press conference or release a statement.”

Several attempts to get a comment from minister in charge Ngaka Ngaka were futile as his mobile rang unanswered on Monday afternoon.

Nonetheless, Baeng revealed that at least six Batswana were injured following the recent reported stampede that happened at the church’s headquarters in Pretoria on December 28 2018. According to reports three female congregants lost their lives, including a 69-year-old, while many were left injured. Reports in SA further state that the police only learnt of the stampede the next day.

“Only six Batswana were involved in the stampede, all six of them were taken to the hospital, where five were treated for shock, whilst only one was admitted and treated for minor injuries, and discharged the next day. It is a very unfortunate situation and we as a church are standing with all those who lost their loved ones as a result,” added the ECG Botswana SG.

He also slammed the ongoing riots aimed at the church for the stampede and loss of lives, further calling for the SA government to step up and protect their church.

“We are deeply concerned as Botswana branch, and to be honest we are quiet shocked with what is happening right now in Pretoria. The Police are letting people to take justice into their own hands. We are as equal hurt as they are, that we have lost our fellow brethrens, but we believe that since our pastor is Malawian, this is nothing but a Xenophobic attacks on him. We would like to call the government of South Africa to protect our pastor,” said Baeng.

SA police have also opened a case of defeating the ends of justice against the church. The charges said to be laid are said to be based on the fact that police have established that the victims were certified dead at the church premises, the incident was not reported to the police, and the bodies were removed and taken to a private mortuary.