Shepherd Bushiri: Rape allegations and denials — what you need to know
Officials are investigating rape charges against the leader of the Enlightened Christian Gathering Church (ECG)‚ Shepherd Bushiri.
This is what you need to know:
Alleged victims and claims
Two victims told e.tv in an interview last week they were raped by Bushiri on separate occasions at a hotel.
The first woman said she was attending a service at Bushiri’s church when an elder told her the “prophet” wanted to pray for her in private. The woman said Bushiri insisted on a hug and wanted to kiss her.
“I said no I can’t do this‚ you are married and he said ‘no‚ don’t worry about that.’ I said no I can’t. From then‚ he touched me here [on the forehead] so that’s when I manifested. I don’t know‚ I was under the power that I don’t even know.”
After the alleged rape he apparently gave her R5‚000.
Another woman said Bushiri sent her a text message and asked to meet her for Bible study. She said when she arrived at a hotel‚ she found Bushiri naked. The woman claims she was also given R5‚000 after the alleged rape and was told to book another room.
Bushiri denies allegations‚ says he is the victim
The “prophet” addressed his congregation virtually and dismissed the allegations as an attempt to tarnish his reputation and extort money from his family and his church.
He said he has been living under threat since 2017.
“They told me how they would use the media and how they would use the Hawks. When I heard these things‚ I also heard that they said ‘we will also defame you and we will make sure that you get arrested for rape‚ that you raped people‚ if you do not give us the money’‚” he said.
He further claimed that the “syndicate” of men and women later “confessed” that they were working with investigating officers to solicit money from the church. Bushiri claimed that he has the confessions on record.
He said he wants his name cleared.
“I’m a public figure and I also need my name to be cleared. I’m also waiting for the Hawks‚ that when they are done with their investigation‚ to come back and tell the same media what their findings are. I believe that as a public figure‚ I have the same rights that any person has.”
Hawks spokesperson Brig Hangwani Mulaudzi said they were aware of the “serious allegations levelled” against one of its officials.
“The prophet should not have waited for three years‚ why has there not been a case at this stage? We are also keen to know the truth. He can pursue the allegations with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid)‚ the police‚ or the Hawks‚” he said.
Source: ARENA Holdings.