Despite accusations of dumping his anointing oil for Barry Roux, one of Africa’s most expensive criminal attorneys, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri’s release on bail has been two of this week’s top highlights. Independent presidential hopeful Ras Chikomeni Kadelere Chirwa’s nomination papers being the other.
On one hand, followers of Prophet Bushiri who was arrested on Friday last week together with his wife by the Hawks in South Africa for alleged fraud and money laundering described his temporary ‘walk to freedom’ as God’s answer to their prayers.
Bongi Maqhina, commenting on Bushiri’s Facebook, said: “Today ECG made history. Many churches have gone to court over their own issues and supporters went to support their men of God but Nothing like this has ever happened in South Africa. Today we proved that ECG is not just a church, we are a family!”
Gemina Genge commented: “If the devil knew what he was doing when he kills Jesus, he would have stopped. If the hawks knew what was gonna come after arresting my mom and dad they wouldn’t do it . But tnx anyway because the Glory of God is has been advertised. Jesus is Lord”.
Whistle-blower and political activist, Gerald Kampanikiza, said Bushiri’s bail is an indication that “no prison can keep him long”, before asking “where are those Malawians who were celebrating and think Major 1 will rot in jail?”
While his followers celebrated and thanked God for the release of Bushiri affectionately referred as Papa or Major One, some people descended on the pro-Major 1 horde with a clarification on the conditions of a bail.
“Meaning of bail: the temporary release of an accused person awaiting trial, sometimes on condition that a sum of money is lodged to guarantee their appearance in court. I have no idea why some people say “We told Bushiri haters that he is innocent” hey dummies, he is on bail NOT innocent. Jeez!” wrote Themba TeeJay Mthembu on Facebook.
“So let me get this. Bushiri gives you wrist bands and oils to help you,but when he needs the help he gets a lawyer?” said Deniss Munyuni.
Bushiri’s story of being granted bail made headlines on front pages for international media. But in Malawi, it was not the only highlight as Ras Chikomeni stole the shine from other presidential hopefuls including some of the strong contenders like Saulos Chilima, Ateupele Muluzi and Lazarus Chakwera.
Chikomeni who presented immediately after Chilima on Wednesday has been trending on social media ever since. He drew out unexpected mammoth unlike candidates like former Malawi Vice President Cassim Chilumpha who is heading the Tikonze Alliance. He is possibly the only candidate who came close to matching the crowd that President Peter Mutharika drew on Friday.
Chilima, who surprised many with his choice of a running mate in Michael Usi, was a topic until around 2pm when COMESA Hall opened its gate to welcome Ras Chikomeni. Despite failing to meet set requirements, his message to challenge elitism in Malawian politics was applauded by several high profile commentators and activists.
Among those endorsed Ras Chikomeni’s message is Onjezani Kenani. The renowned political commentator concurred with Chikomeni who challenged MEC for alienating the poor from the presidency.