Thousands of people yesterday attended ‘Prophet’ Walter Magaya’s much-hyped crusade at Amazulu Sports Club in Bulawayo. Magaya’s Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries (PHD) is one of the fastest growing churches in Zimbabwe, with many attracted by claims that he can perform miracles.
Speaking at the event, Magaya dismissed the adultery allegations levelled against him by a Harare man and attacked newspapers for publishing stories to that effect.
By 7AM, scores of people were already trooping to the crusade’s venue and by noon thousands were gathered there ahead of the starting time of 5PM. By 6PM more people were still heading into the sports club which was already packed.
Magaya is expected to hold another crusade at the same venue today, at a time he faces a $500,000 lawsuit from a Harare man who alleges that the preacher had an illicit affair with his wife.
Magaya is popular for his anointing oil which his publicists say has “anointing that breaks the yoke of the devil and resurrection power.”
He told the gathering that the adultery reports were a ploy by the media to discourage people from getting their testimonies and healing.
“The Sadducees and Pharisees of today are the newspapers. They don’t want the gospel to be spread. They believe more in Satanism than God. They might think that they are fighting prophet Magaya, but they are fighting your testimony. They are agents of the devil working against your mind. We are about to prove to every newspaper that the devil is a liar. I was there and I am a witness,” he said.
Earlier, Magaya’s bodyguards harassed Chronicle’s chief photographer Eliah Saushoma and detained him for some hours, threatening him with death, even though he was accredited to take pictures.
A few months ago, the bouncers allegedly assaulted raunchy pole dancer Beverly Sibanda when she joined the church, before jumping ship.
Some of the people who were in attendance and spoke to Chronicle said they belonged to different Christian denominations, but could not resist the PHD prophet’s pull.
One said she had watched Magaya on television and had come to witness his prophetic powers.
“We have seen some of the miracles on television and want to see whether he can actually perform them on us. The blind’s sight has been restored. I have my own miracle that I wish to see coming to pass but I can’t disclose it to you,” said Patience Moyo who claimed to be from Harvest House International church.
Earnest Ndlovu from Mzilikazi said Magaya’s sermons touched on social issues, which is why the preacher draws huge crowds.
“He touches on social aspects such as witchcraft, curses which some churches avoid addressing and he prays to break those curses,” he said.
Brighton Makocho said he queried some of the miracles that Magaya performed so he wanted to see if they were actually true while Sindile Ndlovu said she wanted the anointing oil which she said had worked for other people.
A man who spoke on condition of anonymity said the huge crowd bore testimony to that Zimbabweans were desperate for solutions to their problems.
“Crusades have been held in the city by many churches before but they have never drawn such a crowd. People are seeking solutions and this crowd explains it,” he said.
The crusade ends today.