Allies of Robert Mugabe have labeled T.B. Joshua, the prominent televangelist, a "Satanist."
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Evangelical and Pentecostal Christianity are powerful forces in sub-Saharan politics. So, too, is the belief in prophecy and sorcery.
In Zimbabwe, it is tense times, with uncertainty about President Robert Mugabe's health, the dates of the next election, and whether constitutional and other reforms will be achieved. Taken together, faith and politics are the context for the Zimbabwean partisan wrangling over a Nigerian Pentecostal preacher.
Zimbabwean prime minister and opposition presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai has allegedly invited the Nigerian televangelist and faith healer Temitope Balogun ('TB') Joshua to Harare to be the guest speaker on Africa Day, May 25, a "National Day of Prayer." In response, the police, dominated by President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, are pulling out all of the stops to prevent the visit. A senior police officer accuses Joshua of being a "false prophet," and screened at the Harare police headquarters a video that dwells on Joshua's alleged womanizing, titled "T.B. Joshua's Evil Doings Finally Revealed." Close Mugabe ally, the schismatic Anglican bishop Nolbert Kunonga, accuses Joshua of "Satanism" and of being "diabolical." Previously, other pro ZANU-PF clergy have claimed on state-controlled media that Joshua's preaching is "judgmental, partisan, and unorthodox." The apparent anger of Mugabe's supporters also reflects that many Zimbabweans, like others in sub-Sahara Africa, treat prophesy, "Satanism," and the "diabolical" with deadly seriousness. Hence, the denunciation of Joshua as a "false" prophet.