By Katlego Sibanda
Gaborone — South African-based Malawi prophet, Shepherd Bushiri, has been prohibited from entering Botswana without a visa in a development that has left his much-awaited business conference in doubt.
Government confirmed the rich self-styled prophet had been listed, meaning he would need to obtain the document ahead of his crusade scheduled for the end of the month in the capital Gaborone.
A communiqué issued by the Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, has confirmed the listing.
“Notice is hereby given that in accordance with regulation 5 of the Immigration (Visa) Regulations, the Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, hereby declares that Shepherd Huxley Bushiri of Malawian nationality is to obtain Visa to enter Botswana,” reads part of a declaration signed by Minister Edwin Batshu.
This is an unprecedented move as Malawi nationals do not require Visa to enter the fellow Southern African country.
It is thus seen as an attempt to block the divisive Enlightened Christian Gathering Church and the Shepherd Bushiri Ministries International leader from hosting his business conference at the National Stadium on May 26 and 27.
The development has caused a social media frenzy as a section celebrated the development and his supporters expressed disappointment. He has over 1,6 million followers on the popular Facebook.
It is not the first time Botswana has denied entry to foreign controversial figures.
South African opposition leader, Julius Malema, British international lawyer Gordon Bennett, representing the minority Bushmen group, and American actor Rick Yune, were initially listed and ordered to apply for visas.
The three countries are exempt from visas.
Bushiri has courted controversy for his opulent lifestyle and “prophesies”, the most recent about “imminent” war in Zambia and Morocco.