A BOGUS Pentecostal pastor, fled an angry mob recently at the popular Egodini rank in Bulawayo after his fake miracles were exposed when one of the "healed cripples" who was used to stage-manage the event turned out to be a popular able-bodied tout who operates from the Registrar General's office.
The 10-minute drama, which occurred at the open space opposite Power Sales shop, at around 4pm has left many witnesses doubting the genuineness of a glut of miracle pastors emerging all over the country.
Immaculately clad in a black suit, a red shirt and a matching tie, the bogus pastor, whose name could not be established, is said to have sped off in a fashion that would have left the world's known fastest sprinter Usain Bolt green with envy, as the dismayed vendors and touts bayed for his blood.
According to witnesses, the pastor had planted his people in the small crowd he was preaching to, and later pretended to heal them of their ailments while one of his followers was filming the acts.
His deceit was, however, exposed after a "wheelchair bound" man he had "miraculously" "delivered" was identified by one of the onlookers who knew him as an able bodied passport tout who operates outside the Registrar General's office.
Prior to being bust, the bogus cleric, witnesses said, had prayed for a "blind" woman who immediately regained her sight, much to the awe of the crowd largely made up of airtime vendors, touts and flea market traders.
"The crowd almost believed him when he healed this woman. She came begging for alms, pretending to be blind, while this pastor was preaching. He immediately stopped preaching, turned to this woman and started praying for her chanting "Holy ghost fire, holy ghost fire, see in the name of the Lord," and the woman opened her eyes.
"Trouble started when he turned to a man who was in a wheelchair and started praying for him. Again he shouted 'holy ghost fire, holy ghost fire'. The wheelchair-bound man stood up slowly and suddenly sprung to his feet and started jumping around. He rushed and passionately hugged the pastor, but one woman who was in the crowd shouted that she knew the 'crippled' man to be an able-bodied man."
Said the woman who blew the man's cover: "I know him from way back when he used to stay at Ross Camp police station and learnt at the primary school there.
"He also went to Sobukhazi Secondary School before enrolling at Foundation College where he was repeating his O-levels."
Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe executive president, Bishop Johannes Ndanga said such bogus pastors should be brought to book because they brought the name of the church and religion into disrepute by deceiving God's people through miracles.
"We have always warned people against following churches because there are miracles being performed there. People should go to church to follow God's word and not miracles.
"Such fake pastors, if found, should be brought to book for misleading people. As ACCZ we actually advocate for regulation of church activities to guard against society being misled by fake and dubious men of the cloth," he said.