Unholy war over #BushiriMustFall
Prophet Shepherd Bushiri of Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church has hauled organisers of a protest against "fake prophets" to the high court in a bid to stop the march.
Bushiri's lawyers, B Rikhotso Attorneys, filed the papers on Friday against the protest themed "March Against Fake Prophets", scheduled for Wednesday. The Malawian-born prophet is also demanding an apology from the organisers.
Organisers Charles Farai, Solomon Ashoms and Martins Antonio will first have to battle it out in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria tomorrow for their march to the SA Human Rights Commission in Parktown, Johannesburg, to go ahead.
In court papers, Bushiri asked the court to stop the march, arguing that the protest pamphlets were "libellous".
Bushiri, in his founding affidavit, argued that the #BushiriMustFall that
appears in one of the pamphlets written alongside #No manipulation, suggested that he was "deceiving and manipulating" his congregants.
The prophet preaches to about 100 000 congregants in Pretoria West every Sunday.
"This campaign comprises gratuitous and patently false statements intended to malign my reputation. Whatever reason the respondents might have, this campaign has gone too far," Bushiri stated.
He said the march was meant to solely defame him.
Antonio, who is behind the #BushiriMustFall hashtag, said he's been using this since last year March to "expose Bushiri" for allegedly breaking down his marriage.
"Last year Bushiri made a prophecy to my wife, saying my mother is a witch . that caused trauma to me and my kids and became a big issue," Antonio said yesterday.
Ashoms said they were in the process of filing their responding papers ahead of tomorrow's court hearing.
"This is a march for victims of false prophets ... we have victims who've been raped by a bishop coming all the way from Kroonstad to be part of this march," Ashoms said.
However, Rikhotso Attorneys said in a statement to Sowetan that Antonio has had an "antagonistic attitude" which began "ever since his wife was prophesied by our client first time she visited our client church".
"In expressing their views, the respondents cannot be allowed to violate our client's rights ... Our client does not wish to stifle debate of, and public awareness around, false prophets. Nor does our client seek to use litigation as a weapon in terrorem to bully the respondents into submission."