Thin Line Between ‘Prophecy’ and Opportunism

OPINION BY THE HERALD OF ZIMBABWE

We have a surfeit of attention-mongers in Zimbabwe calling themselves prophets because fame brings fortune. On Monday, news broke out that the “remains” of the missing Malaysian plane Flight MH370 had been sighted via satellite leading to the conclusion that it had “ended in the Indian Ocean”.

It was so huge an announcement which should have put to bed speculation surrounding the fate of the aeroplane that had 239 people on board.

The closure to the case remains elusive and hard questions are being asked of the evidence that led to such a conclusion: the Chinese government and relatives of the passengers have huge question marks.

They are entitled to them.

Meanwhile, at the time of writing, news of the plane was suffering waning significance.

Even the CNN, which feasted on the search and Monday’s announcement, had an anti-climatic poser on its news website: “Experts, relatives ask: Where’s the proof that MH370 fell into the ocean?”

And as is typical of most disasters, it has not only made a field day for news but also for attention seekers and jesters of all kind.

You can also add celebrity “prophet” TB Joshua to the mix. He is in the habit of grabbing headlines by making predictions on events that are of international significance, but mainly to do with death.

He has predicted the deaths and illnesses of famous people.

He has predicted results of football matches.

He would not be left out in the search for the missing Malaysian plane.

A report on March 15 said TB Joshua “directed Malaysian authorities and other institutions looking for the missing Malaysian plane to look ‘between Indonesia and the Indian Ocean'” for the missing plane.

He is quoted as saying: “They should look between Indonesia and Indian Ocean because the particles of the plane has (sic) scattered and gone ever where.”

A casual look at the map will show the vastness of what he calls “between Indonesia and the Indian Ocean” and finding something whose “particles has (sic) scattered and gone everywhere” is indeed a task.

Surely, the plane, in the wholeness of which we are talking, could not be expected to be found when its “minute quantities” were “scattered and gone everywhere”?

Just how and why Joshua decided to use such ambiguous words is anyone’s guess.

However, what is clear is that this sad episode fed into his well-worn template of seeking attention at the slightest opportunity, including football matches, even when he turns out to be offside.

Yet TB Joshua is not alone.

It is the era of opportunism masquerading as prophecy, largely.

And I am saying this conscious of the holy anger that I am provoking among some sections of Zimbabwe.

I do not seek to touch any “anointed ones” who I hope do things that are beyond reproach.

And even if they are wrongly reproached, they may take comfort in the fact that all the prophets of old as well as Jesus himself were not universally praised.

It would have defeated God’s cause, anyway, if they did.

We have a surfeit of attention-mongers in Zimbabwe calling themselves prophets because fame brings fortune.

Take this Bulawayo ‘prophet’ Blessing Chiza for example.

Last December he shot to fame when he predicted that Highlanders Football Club would win the Mbada Diamonds Cup.

Bosso beat newcomers How Mine in a Bulawayo derby, and Chiza was hailed in some quarters as having made an accurate prediction, barring the experience of Bosso and how such giants always win cross-town matches.

Chiza was at it early this year when he “prophesied” Bosso would end a barren eight-year search by being crowned Premiership champions this year.

It is still to come to pass.

What has come to pass, though, was his failed prediction of the senior national soccer team’s success at the CHAN finals in South Africa.

Chiza predicted that the Warriors would beat Libya 3-0 in the semi-finals but the Warriors were bundled out in the early stages.

Chiza was branded a liar.

Did he not deserve it?

Uebert Mudzanire, who prefers to be called Uebert Angel, is another “prophet” who has dabbled in soccer predictions.

In May 2012 Angel is said to have prophesied that Chelsea would beat Liverpool to win the FA Cup a few hours before kick-off and Chelsea won 2-1.

He is said to have correctly spelt the scoreline and gave exact goal descriptions.

Angel reportedly foretold Manchester United’s league glory last season.

Last December, he tipped Liverpool to win saying, “I am with you this year and God has shown me he is returning you to your glory days.”

On March 13 Angel sued a broadcaster (he won’t suffer Jesus-like or like Prophet Jeremiah or the early apostles) for U$15 million.

It is to be wondered, though, what Mudzanire will do if Liverpool wins the championship this year – they are not a bad proposition to end their own 24-year drought.

Will he say, “I told you so last December (and sued SuperSport in March for quoting me)?”

It’s all tacky; sticky.

There is some very suspicious prophecy that has been reeking so high up my nose lately.

It concerns the Kariba Dam and is said to have been delivered by Emmanuel Makandiwa of United Family International.

I did not hear the original prophecy, but here is how, on March 21, one newspaper reported the news that the Kariba Dam was facing collapse.

“United Family International Church founder Emmanuel Makandiwa’s followers yesterday claimed their leader had been vindicated for his forecast on the imminent collapse of a ‘great wall’ that would affect millions if no action was taken to avert the crisis …

In January last year, Makandiwa told thousands of his followers during the New Year’s cross-over celebrations that: ‘I am seeing an old wall saying, ‘I am tired, I am getting tired and who will help me? I need to rest’ and the wall is coming down and I am seeing thousands perishing and the nation going into darkness… ”

We all know how this would have sounded in last year, an electoral year and what such an old wall could have been taken to mean.

Nothing happened last year, even for all other predictions of disasters occasioned by nature or politics.

Kariba provides a perfect “fulfilment”, even when it is a structural matter known for years and all the reasons for people to go where prophecies are fulfilled, too.

It is the era for such opportunism, and one does not need to be a Rhodes scholar to see the trend.

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