By Byron Mutingwende
The famous Sekuru Banda has emerged the best on the Top 10 list of most popular and powerful religious leaders in Zimbabwe that was released by Achievers’ Forum Zimbabwe.
“We are not surprised by Sekuru Banda’s achievement because he has been riding on a wave of success – not only in terms of his miraculous healing powers but in his business empire that cuts across Africa, Europe, Asia and America,” said Rodwell Bhasopo, a social commentator and sociologist.
The few other Harare residents who do not know the achievements and glamorous profile of Sekuru Banda expressed shock at the list.
“I am a member of the Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries and all along I thought our Father and Prophet Walter Magaya is the leading man in Zimbabwe in terms of popularity and wealth but after considering the yardstick used by the Achievers’ Forum Zim, I am now convinced Sekuru Banda is a big man in his own right,” said Smart Mazokozoko, who said he fellowships at PHD Ministries in Waterfalls.
Despite all the success, the soft-spoken Sekuru Banda chooses to maintain a low-profile and is largely media shy. When contacted for a comment about the success, the traditional healer attributed everything to God and his ancestors.
“I don’t have much to say about that great recognition save to say I give glory to God my Creator and honour to my ancestors for remembering me in that special way. All I can say is that my doors at my surgery in Cranborne are open for all so that we help each other in living a good life that is not disturbed by evil spirits and the devil,” Sekuru Banda said.
The Achievers Forum Zim is an independent organisation formed by patriotic Zimbabweans living in the country and abroad. The organisation is a think-tank which analyses and conducts credible surveys of Zimbabweans who makes achievements in all spheres.
This year it complied a list of the top 10 most powerful religious leaders for 2018. In its survey, it looked at the popularity, influence, wealth and how much power they yield across.
The organisation acknowledges those who have made a name for themselves or maintained their already known names and believes such acknowledgement is key for a prosperous nation as Zimbabwe must celebrate its own.
Below is the 2018 Achievers Forum Zim list from the first to the 10th:
1 Sekuru Banda
This man has done some things, things that most even some Christian leaders have envied despite difference in religions. He has attracted the who is who in Southern Africa at his ‘surgery’ including Presidents, cabinet ministers, foreignersN and socialites in Cranborne.
He has been criticised for some of his practices., yet somehow, he manages to rise up above everything with his die-hard followers clapping for him. He is the religious leader everyone loves to hate, but he undeniably has the ears of most Zimbabweans. When he speaks, people listen.
This makes him the most influential religious leader in the country at the moment. In terms of philanthropy, he has donated to several charity organisations. In terms of wealth, he boasts of several businesses in transport, oil and agriculture sectors.
With his flamboyance one would think the traditional healer is a movie star. Pretty glamorous and charming for a typical traditional healer, the herbalist is now trendy and fashion-conscious. He drives the latest Range Rovers and owns houses in the leafy suburbs of Harare. Although his net worth could not be ascertained, he was definitely the most influential religious leader in 2018.
2 Ezekiel Guti
Dr Guti has managed over the years to maintain his influence as one of the most consistent religious leaders in the country. He founded ZAOGA and to date, the church has been established in over 143 nations, with over 2,000 churches in Southern Africa.
He has ministered for over 50 years and spoken in several countries. He has founded seven Bible Colleges and various ministries including Forward in Faith Children’s Home, Children’s Ministry, Africa Christian Business Fellowship, the Gracious Women’s Fellowship, along with the Agape International Fellowship. He has written over 69 books on his teachings.
Although he is not flamboyant, he is believed to own several properties across the world and he has remained an authoritative voice in the country.
3. Prophet Uebert Angel
Prophet Angel is one of the most influential and eloquent speaker of our time. The Good News Church founder has pushed the envelope beyond boundaries. He is into real estate with properties in Paris, France, the United Kingdom and South Africa. Prophet Angel has also branched out into energy drink and has flourishing church branches across Europe and Africa. Major Prophet as he is popularly in religious circles is also famous for his spot on prophecies.
He has also played a father figure nurturing the likes of other famed prophets the likes of Passion Java and also South Africa based Prophet Shepherd Bushiri. One of his most memorable miracles he performed to date was the miracle money which took Botswana and Zimbabwe by surprise. At one time, the monetary authority in Zimbabwe which is the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe approached him. Of late, he has been taking after Pastor Chris in his philanthropic work.
4 Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi
Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi is a Zimbabwean born religious figure who is the leader of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) one of the biggest home grown churches in the country. For those that don’t know, Zion Church has grown to be one of the biggest locally initiated churches in Zimbabwe with a church at village, district and provincial level. The church has also established annex churches overseas in countries such as the United Kingdom. The church hundreds of thousands of followers. It is known for its somewhat unique music which includes the use of indigenous percussion instruments such as drums and trumpets. Bishop Mutendi has interests in real estate, schools and hospitals. He is one of the richest clergymen.
5 Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa
The charismatic religious leader is the founder of UFIC which he formed in 2010 when he broke away from AFM. Apart from his miracles and prophecies “Prophet”, Makandiwa is also a businessman in his own right. He owns a gold mine (purchased a gold mine from a Chinese firm, Ming-Chang for US $1,3 million) He also runs a consortium company trading under the name Havilah Gold and he snapped up the Ster Kinekor’s franchise locally and in Zambia.
His influence was under threat this year when a couple Blessing and Upenyu Mashangwa sued him for a fake prophecy and the matter is still before the courts. This makes him innocent until the court of law proves otherwise. He also launched Brand Makandiwa whose launch was attended by Victor Boateng and several executives. Brand Makandiwa seeks to celebrate his achievement through various products that will be released on the market, such as books and branded wares, among others. He sits on third position in the 2018 list.
6 Prophet Walter Magaya
Prophet Walter Magaya’s impoverished background did not in any way deter his vision. If anything, it has inspired hundred of thousands of congregants who come from afar afield as Europe, Asia, The United Kingdom and The United States. Prophet Magaya has been at the forefront of religious tourism as worshippers come to visit Zimbabwe and his PHD Ministries in their numbers. Prophet Magaya has also wined and dined with presidents, business people and also people from all walks of life. A philanthropist of sorts, Prophet Magaya looks after orphans, widows and less privileged. He has vast swathes of land in Zimbabwe, including a luxury hotel in Waterfalls and he’s also into real estate. He uses change to sponsor his football team called Yadah FC. He is a big fan of football Prophet Magaya’s career.
7. Bishop Paul Mwazha
Bishop Mwazha is the Founder of the African Apostolic Church and turned 100 years old on 25 October 2018. Bishop Paul Mwazha was born at Chirumanzu on the 25th of October 1918. God has used Bishop Mwazha mightily to bring many to salvation.
He has churches in every district of Zimbabwe and many other branches internationally. His legion of followers has donated a variety of gifts including properties. He is reported to own farms and other businesses although mostly kept under wraps.
8 Apostle Tavonga Utabwashe
Apostle Tavonga Utabwashe is a popular Zimbabwean religious preacher who leads a huge following. Apostle Utabwashe is the president and founder of Heartfelt International Ministries. Several pilgrims attend his annual crusade dubbed Catch the Fire. Vutabwashe is also an author who has penned self help religious books. In June 2016, Apostle Vutabwashe delivered a sermon arguing that Zimbabwean government ministers were behind the suffering of ordinary Zimbabwean. He also hit the spotlight after alleging that government was hypocritical and didn’t walk the talk in service delivery.
9 Prophet Blessing Chiza
Prophet Chiza is the founder and leader of Eagle Life Assembly Church in Bulawayo. He is famous for making accurate prophecies on political leadership locally and internationally and has travelled across the globe. He is reported to have vast business interests in a wipe spectrum of life.
10. Sekuru Charles Makwiyana Ndunge
Sekuru Ndunge is famous for healing powers and helping thousands of people retain stolen property or amend broken marriages. His clientele base extends across Africa, Europe, Asia and America.