African News Agency
LEADER of the Enlightened Christian Gathering Church and self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri is relieved after the Malawian government reversed an earlier decision blocking his eight-year-old daughter from travelling to Kenya for treatment, his spokesman said on Friday.
Malawian Bushiri, who fled to his home country from South Africa, where he faces fraud and money laundering charges, has been anxious to get his ailing daughter, Israella, to Kenya, his spokesman Ephraim Nyondo told the African News Agency (ANA).
“The major concern for prophet Shepherd Bushiri was to have the kid taken to Kenya for further medical attention. That was his major preoccupation. Now that the government has given a nod to that, he is very happy.”
On Monday, he said the Malawian authorities had without any explanation blocked Bushiri’s daughter and her guardians from flying out in a chartered air ambulance last Friday.
ANA has seen a clearance letter, dated February 25 and issued and signed by Malawi’s Homeland Security Minister Richard Chimwendo Banda, allowing the trip to proceed. It said Israella Bushiri would be accompanied by Raphaella Bushiri “who will donate bone marrow to the patient”.
Guardians Esther Bushiri and Magdalena Ndiwila Zgambo have also been permitted to travel with the minor “to provide care and support during the time of receiving medical (treatment) in Kenya”.
“The government of Malawi has no objection for the patient and the three guardians to travel abroad for medical attention, considering that there are no travel restrictions imposed on them by the government,” Banda said in the letter, issued in the capital Lilongwe.
Asked if Bushiri – who fled with his wife, Mary, last year while on bail – considered returning to South Africa to clear his name, Nyondo said the charismatic preacher would not return until the Pretoria authorities made certain concessions.
“(Bushiri) made certain requests to the South African government to review some of the things that he felt were unfair when he was seeking justice in that country. He talked about the prosecutors, who he had opened cases against, before they waged a war of taking him to court, arresting him and all that kind of stuff.
“He called on the South African government to ensure that these people are recused from this case because as long as they are on the case, he will not get a fair trial. The South African government has not made any step towards achieving that. They have always concentrated on making sure he looks bad in the media.”
If the South African government made “serious concessions … I think we can begin to discuss a serious thing”, Nyondo added.