Authorities in South Africa are still scratching their heads as to how was it possible that ECG leader, prophet Shepherd Bushiri, and his wife Mary, could have managed to slip through the fingers of the authorities and reach Malawi undetected. Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele, said that the Minister of Home Affairs has assured him that there is no record that Prophet Bushiri used any of the ports of entry to exit the Republic. Both spokespersons for the Malawian President, Lazarus Chakwera, and South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, have denied reports that Bushiri could have been smuggled through the Malawian Presidential jet which was on an official visit to South Africa recently. Malawian authorities are angry that President Chakwera’s plane was prevented from leaving South Africa and subjected to a search without any valid explanation being given for the search. Cele has said that the police were against the idea of releasing Prophet Bushiri on bail in first place as they knew that something like this could happen. The Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, also said that he did not believe that Prophet should have been released on bail as it was clear that he was a flight risk,
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Meanwhile, Bushiri’s lawyer, Terrence Baloyi said that Bushiri left South Africa due to safety and security reasons and that he will return to the country to stand trial as soon as his security can be guaranteed by the State. The Independent Police investigative Directorate (IPID), has confirmed that Prophet Bushiri has opened a complaint against the police in 2018 and that the matter is still under investigation and was only delayed due to the unavailability of Prophet Bushiri to make an additional statement relating to the complaint. Bushiri has alleged that he does not believe that he will receive a fair trial in South Africa considering the treatment that he has received since 2015.
Meanwhile the Pretoria magistrate’s court has revoked Shepherd and Mary Bushiri’s bail and authorised a warrant for their arrest, This will initiate a diplomatic dispute between South Africa and Malawi as South Africa will attempt to extradite the Bushiri’s while Malawi is likely to resist such application given the contributions that Bushiri has been making to uplift the people of that country and the goodwill that he enjoys with the government of that country.
In Malawi itself, the arrival of the Bushiri’s has been met with mixed reactions with some saying that he should return to South Africa to stand trial while others say that if his life is threatened, he is entitled to flee the country and to find safety in Malawi.