Prophet TB Joshua: God's will or a fake prophet?

The death of 115 congregates and the injuries sustained by several hundred others in the collapse of a guest house near the church run by Nigerian preacher TB Joshua has divided public opinion, igniting a social media furore.

The story has been trending across social media networks and sites, with highly emotional exchanges between followers and non-followers of TB Joshua. Calls have even been made for a worldwide ban on the evangelist's church, the Synagogue Church of All Nations (Scoan).

In Bulawayo, emotions naturally ran high at the funeral of 40-year-old Catherine Ndlovu, one of two Zimbabweans confirmed dead in the disaster.

Greenwich Ndanga, MDC-T chair for Mashonaland West province, is the other confirmed fatality.

"This is a very sad chapter. This woman toiled to raise the money to travel to Nigeria only to lose her life. Personally, I don't think that these Nigerian pilgrimages are necessary. People are being blackmailed and brainwashed there," one mourner said.

Another mourner questioned the relevance of the pilgrimages saying "the problem is that Christianity has been institutionalised and as such this incident is just the tip of a bigger problem. People go to these places with the belief that they will get healed, but for my teachings from the Bible all one needs is faith".
Prophet TB Joshua: God's will or a fake prophet?
According to relatives, a desperate Ndlovu went to TB Joshua in the hope that he would save her hospitalised daughter.

One elderly woman said death was "the will of God" and it would occur with or without TB Joshua.

Ubabamkhulu, a reader of our sister paper The Chronicle commenting on the website, said: "What if God is the one who destroyed the building? If we refer to the scriptures, we see that God can strike and can wage a war." Pastor John Mushaba Nemashakwe of the Authentic Church of God told The Sunday Mail Extra that mankind could only do so much in the face of disaster. "We can talk about technical things and try to blame individuals. The truth of the matter is that no man can change God's plans," he said.

Tsitsi Magaso took another view.

"I know people can die anywhere, but we are talking about people who died in the so-called guest houses. I strongly believe that the building was not up to standard. If you believe it was God or the devil that caused the collapse, you are entitled to your opinion just as I am entitled to mine. We cannot be seen to be always blaming God."

The multi-storey building collapsed after TB Joshua allegedly ordered construction of additional floors without reinforcing the foundations.

TB Joshua insists that a mysterious plane hovered above the structure four times and somehow caused the structure to collapse.

Melody Mwakutuya, whose family struggled to raise more than US$4 000 for her mother to travel to Nigeria to regain her eyesight, had no kind words.

"I used to believe that these so-called prophets can heal a number of ailments. However, I changed my mind after one of these prophets failed to restore my mother's eyesight after assurances. Look at what has happened, if the prophet was genuine, he would have averted the disaster," Mwakutuya charged.

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