In all the 54 Independent African Nations, it is very common to find one religion or others being practiced. In North Africa, the dominant religion is Islam while in Sub-Sahara Africa, it is Christianity.
According to the Pew Research Center, Christians make up 63% of the African continent. Muslims constitute 30%, while those who practice African Traditional Religions, mixing it with Christianity or Islam account for about 3%.
From the statistics, it is clear that Christianity is the dominant religion on the continent, especially in countries below the Sahara. Within Christianity, 57% are Protestant (includes members of African Independent Churches and Anglicans). 34% are Catholic, 8% are Orthodox, and 1% others do not belong to any of these factions.
Over the years, the continent has seen a significant proliferation of one man churches (part of African
Independent Churches), mostly operated by self-proclaimed ‘Men of God’ or ‘Prophets’. These prophets have succeeded in luring people to their churches through the performance of miracles. They claim to have the power to protect their congregation from witchcraft, black magic, provide them with employment, heal their sicknesses including HIV/AIDS, and even bring back the dead to life.
The prophets have become so powerful to the extent that their congregants believe anything they say without questioning them. However, many of these prophets are beginning to gain prominence in the public discourse in Africa due to their bizarre practices. Some governments and organizations in the continent are starting to think that these churches and their operators should be held accountable to the people they claim to serve. The President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta recently called for the regulation of these one man churches. Mr Kenyatta said the move is aimed at stamping out fake prophets who put the word of God as mask, perpetrating all kinds of crimes.
The country’s leading Newspaper, the Daily Nation quoted the Mr Kenyatta as saying “They are thieves and not preachers. We have to consult and know how to remove them”. In Ghana, almost every corner of the country is flooded with these one man churches. Our investigations in the country have revealed that many of the prophets who operate these churches have been fingered in horrible human rights abuses. Some prophets on the pretext of praying for women who need husbands will end up sexually abusing them. Some too claim to have power to secure European or American visas for their congregants, but end up swindling the congregants of huge sums of monies.
These practices by the prophets have incited a public outrage. The Ghanaian government has therefore tasked the Christian Council to draft a proposal that will ensure that these churches are regulated within the laws of the country.
In Nigeria, the situation is worse. Some of the churches in the country have even attracted people from other African countries. It is one thing that leads people there. Miracles.
One Nigerian popular television-evangelist, TB Joshua made news on the continent following a building collapse at his Synagogue Church of All Nations in Lagos, which killed 116 people in 2014.
A coroner’s report blamed the collapse on shoddy work, saying the structure had not met safety standards but Mr Joshua’s church denied this, instead blaming the collapse on a mysterious plane which had been flying above the double-storey shortly before it collapsed. Of those killed, more than 80 were from South Africa, illustrating the international nature of some of these one man churches in Nigeria.
To show you some of the bizarre practices of some of these churches, watch this video below. This is a self- proclaimed prophet in Nigeria. He claims that the Holy Spirit has instructed him not to touch the ground when preaching to his congregation. The congregation must therefore carry him in a plastic chair while he preaches the word of God.
Source: Zimbabwe today