One of the rising self-proclaimed Pentecostal “prophets”, Ambassador Ishmael (real name Ishmael Mangwanya), recently “prophesied” during an inter-denominational gathering in Harare that Mtukudzi was in a health scare and instructed his congregation to pray for the artist.
However, in a wide-ranging interview at Pakare Paye Arts Centre in Norton on Thursday, Tuku, as the music icon is popularly known by fans, said he was healthy and was hearing about the prophet and his prophecy for the first time.
“Maybe the time for false prophets has come,” he said.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a religious frenzy that has seen people claiming to be prophets, predicting the fates of important people across Zimbabwe and the continent.
Popular Nigerian preacher, TB Joshua, has popularised the trend locally after purportedly making several predictions that are said to have come to pass.
He is credited with predicting on February 8 this year the death of a southern African president within 60 days. Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika subsequently died within the named time.
This has driven thousands of people in Zimbabwe to believe there are people among them, who have been anointed by God to foresee the future.
Local “prophets” are mainly self-proclaimed and are traditionally associated with Apostolics, a pseudo-Christian religion that mixes Biblical teachings with African spirituality. Apostolics usually speak in tongues when they claim to be possessed by the Holy Spirit. Most of them have however, turned out to be fake, capitalising on the weak emotions of a people going through a troubled time.
TB Joshua has torn apart the former ruling Zanu PF, who fear his proposed visit to Zimbabwe for the National Day of Prayer later this month may further divide the heavily splintered party and anoint former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and leader of the mainstream MDCto take over as president of Zimbabwe.
Mtukudzi, a devoted member of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe said if the “prophet” was genuine, he should have approached him and not preach to the whole nation.
“Who knows when I am sick?” he quipped. “Is it the prophet or me? Do I look like I am sick? Maybe he meant another Mtukudzi.”
But a spokesperson for Ambassador Ishmael, Mavhima Mupapuri yesterday said Mtukudzi’s feelings could not determine whether the prophecy was false or not.
He said although prophecy was not a word of knowledge, it was necessary to foretell the future.
“The role of prophecy is for people to get help from God. If he (Mtukudzi) chooses to listen he will be helped,” said Mupapuri.