A South African journalists investigating Prophet Shepherd Bushiri has accused the prophet and his henchmen of instructing the police to have her arrested when she arrived in Malawi.
The journalist, Ntombizodwa Makhoba, who arrived in the country through Chileka International Airport on February 18 said the prophet paid police to arrest and deport her.
According to Makhoba, a police officer took her passport at the airport and later officers who kept mentioning Bushiri in a Chichewa conversation told her she was going back home the next day.
“We got instructions from above. You are going to be kept at a police station for a night and we’ll be deporting you on the first flight to South Africa tomorrow,” the officers told Makhoba.
The police officers then took the journalist to Chileka Police Station where she spent the night
“The tiny police station was staffed by two men in their early thirties. I wondered how I would manage a night there, and the possibility of being raped crossed my mind.
“I still had no clue as to why I was being detained – until I saw the book where all the suspects’ names and charges were recorded.
“My name was already there. Alongside it, someone had written I was being detained for “safety reasons,” Makhoba wrote in a South African newspaper.
After she managed to inform her editor about the ordeal, Makhoba was told by an official at the SA High Commission in Lilongwe that two people had followed her from OR Tambo International Airport and that they had her photograph and passport number.
“Once you leave where you are, you are not safe. Please ensure you are escorted when you go to the bathroom,” the official told Makhoba.
The following morning, the journalist was taken back to Chileka Airport and handed back her passport.
According to Makhoba, she does not know what crime she committed but when she got back home, people from Malawi began phoning her claiming to be government officials and demanding to know whether it was true that she was investigating Shepherd Bushiri.
She also claims that three of her sources in Malawi were taken in for questioning and one of her associates received threatening calls and was ordered to stay away from the “prophet’s business”.
Makhoba said the police gave her a statement in Chichewa which after being translated read: “The issue is that immigration officers received information from Bushiri that a certain journalist was coming to investigate him, and he told the officers to detain the journalist and she must be deported back. The officers said the journalist was followed by Bushiri’s men on the plane, and one of them gave them a signal for the journalist to be arrested at Chileka airport.”