By Tererai Karimakwenda
SW Radio Africa
13 March 2014
A controversial religious leader from Zimbabwe is once again in the headlines, this time for suing a sports company that published a report claiming he had predicted the English team Liverpool would win the Premiership title this season.
Prophet Uebert Angel, the popular so-called spirit preacher and founder of Spirit Embassy Church in Zimbabwe, has reportedly sued SuperSport for $1.5 million, insisting he never made the prediction and the report was therefore defamatory.
The article at the centre of the row, which was published in late December 2013, is no longer available on the SuperSport website. But according to a report on the AllAfrica.com news site, Prophet Angel claims the article “has put his reputation in jeopardy”, and he “risks losing followers as a result”.
Liverpool last won the English title in 1990, just before the Premiership title was established and are currently one of the top four teams battling for the title. They were once a force to be reckoned with, having won the English league title 18 times.
Prophet Angel is himself no stranger to headlines. Last month he was in the news after attending Robert Mugabe’s lavish birthday bash, where he was seen seated with the ageing leader on the front row, among the Who’s Who in ZANU PF.
According to a NewsDay newspaper report, Angel praised Mugabe in his speech and endorsed the land grab scheme as “an opportunity the President has created” for the youths. He also revealed his life-long loyalty to ZANU PF then knelt before Grace Mugabe and whispered a message before leaving the podium.
Anglican Reverend Lameck Mutete criticized this, saying religious leaders can pray for politicians but should not declare loyalty to them, as this might offend members of their congregation who belong to other political parties. He added that the Church should represent all who come to it, and not any specific groups.
“The yardstick measure for us to be able to judge any prophecy is by using the word of God, the Bible in this case. I appreciate that the Church should engage the issues of the day like he is trying to do, but this engagement should be an outgrowth of the Gospel,” Reverend Mutete told SW Radio Africa.
He explained that political issues, football and money should not be the main things that characterize the work of the Church, but the Gospel, Christ and his word should the focus.
Lawyers for the Prophet Angel have reportedly served the court summons to SuperSport’s agent in Zimbabwe, Skynet, and are requesting that the case be heard in Zimbabwe’s High Court.
In January last year the then Finance Minister Tendai Biti challenged Prophet Angel and Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa to produce the billions of dollars that the country needed to settle its debts and pay for the referendum that was expected then.
Biti made the challenge following reports that Prophet Angel had given “miracle money” to his followers at a “miracle night crusade” in Botswana and a “crossover night” at Harare City Sports Centre.
No “miracle money” appeared.