Walter Magaya calls for calm

KWEKWE - As the Kwekwe community and the nation at large come to terms with the horrific death of 11 people at a church service conducted by Prophet Walter Magaya, the popular preacher yesterday refused to blame police for the disaster.

Speaking to the Daily News on Sunday, Magaya insisted that while Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries (PHD) and himself were also to blame as organisers and owners of the event, there was no need for finger pointing at the moment.

“I want to make it clear that as PHD, we have not blamed the police for the disaster, we were also supposed as a church to ensure that all the worshippers were safe.

“What is important now is for the authorities to carry out investigations with a view of making sure we avoid such a scenario again.

“Only a thorough investigation will determine what exactly transpired and come up with ways to avoid such a calamity. Nobody saw what happened except those who were close to the scene. Now I’m hearing that so many people are commenting on behalf of PHD and I would like to disassociate the church and myself for those purporting to be spokespersons of the church.

“They are busy misleading the people saying police were to blame, yet as the church, we have not blamed the police for the mishap. So far we are only blaming ourselves for this regrettable disaster which should have been avoided,” said Magaya.

The distraught popular preacher has so far donated $1 000 each to the families who lost loved ones and food and will follow up with other cash handouts tomorrow.

Only four people are still reported to be still in hospital and are said to be stable.

While Magaya has refused to blame the police for the disaster, relatives of the deceased insisted that more needed to be done by law enforcement agents to avert similar disasters.

Distraught families who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday in Kwekwe yesterday were bitter with police saying they closed the bigger gate, forcing the bumper crowd of about 30 000 to exit through smaller exits.

John Moyo husband to 46-year-old Cynthia Katsholo of Mbizo 16, blamed the police for miscalculating the fatal consequences of forcing people to exit through one gate.

“Police wanted to head count people; hence it created commotion as the crowd was too big. The police should not have closed the gates because people were too many,” a visibly angry Moyo said.

Moyo said he was unaware that his wife was part of the victims as they had lost contact during service.

“They trampled my wife at the gate and she is said to have died on the scene. When people started speaking about the tragedy, that’s when I found out that my wife had passed on,” said Moyo.

He added: “We communicated for a while by mobile phone during service, but she kept on telling me that she was seeing me, but when the service ended, I tried calling and her number was unreachable.”

Katsholo is survived by her husband and four children.

Daughter to the first black executive mayor of Kwekwe, Johnson Mawere, Juliet Mawwere, 55, also died in the stampede and her relatives expressed displeasure at the police, saying they could have done better to avoid the loss of lives.

Brother to the deceased, Mandireva Matambanadzo said the family was still to come to terms with the death of their sister.

“I am pained by my sister’s death and I have never seen anything like this in Kwekwe. We accept the death of our sister, but we do not understand the circumstances surrounding her death because there are reports of people who said police closed gates,” Matambanadzo said.

Sydney Munezvi uncle to 16-year-old Rachel Zvinei, a Form Two student who died during the stampede was distraught. Rachel’s mother had also lost a baby during labour earlier that day.

Friends of Winnimore Chikada, a Grade Six pupil who died in the stampede were shocked at their classmate’s death.

Another child Tamuka Chivasa, 11 of Mkoba 4 Gweru extension died on the fateful night. He had gone to the crusade with his twin brother Tawanda and other children from the neighbourhood.

Police deny foul play and shifted blame on council police who had the keys to the main gate.

By the time of going to the press yesterday, bodies of the deceased had been taken to Bulawayo for post mortem.

Member of the House of Assembly for Mbizo, Settlement Chikwinya said there should be a commission of inquiry into the cause of death as police and PHD have been playing the blame game.

“Churches have become a source of domestic and international tourism and as such, security measures need to be taken to protect our citizens. This incident has taught us a lesson on action plan, but it can only be done through a commission of inquiry and root cause analysis,” Chikwinya said.

“Such huge crowds will always be expected from Magaya and Makandiwa, so I strongly urge government to act,” he added.

On Friday night, Magaya was summoned to the Kwekwe Civic Centre by the city’s leadership who were seeking answers to the tragedy.

Magaya explained how he rushed back to the stadium upon hearing of the stampede and told the city fathers that his team made frantic efforts to save lives before the ambulances arrived.

“We rushed back to the stadium minutes after the incident and made efforts to rescue some who had been injured,” Magaya said.

He added: “We made sure everyone was attended to when we got to hospital and settled all their bills.”

Comments (33)

Thank you Prophet Magaya for helping the deceased family...May they find strength through the holy spirit..

Sherryie - 23 November 2014

i stand to blame the police because considering that they were there what were they doing whilst people were crushing each other on the stampede. on the all night prayer no oner died but there was over 300 00 people at the event. there is no smoke without fire. why were they blamed in the first place. thank you wise prophet for helping the berieved may God increase you

kimberlyhood - 23 November 2014

That is the way to go Prophet thank you for chipping in, this is really a sad scenario only God is able to comfort us in peace fellow Zimbabweans..we all have been affected by this.

Dorothy - 23 November 2014

thank you lord for Prophet Magaya,and for the cursed,many people were healed,some couldn't walk but they go back walking.

chido - 23 November 2014

iwo maprophet enyu aya. Jesus would pull crowds and none of these things would happen. whom do these prophets serve? is their god blind? should lives be lost each time there is a 'prayer or church' gathering. Its time for people to open their eyes and see these people for wat they really are. my condolences to the bereaved families for their loss, may the true living God be their comforter...asi vanhu ava....ziii zvangu

ziii zvangu - 23 November 2014

May the families who have lost their loved ones be comforted during this time..........

lindda - 23 November 2014

Thank you papa. You are a true man of God. No matter what they may all say we are convinced that you were sent by God. May the Lord increase you in Jesus' Mighty Name.

Tinotenda - 23 November 2014

Thank you papa for being man enough to take honourship of this mishap. I salute you for the stance you have taken. You are really a true man of God! We are with you in prayer. May the Lord continue to give you strength pamwe na mai. You are very much loved and appreciated pamwe na mai.

Bridget - 23 November 2014

I still haven't got some answers to some of my questions regards these prophets. How come Magaya was unable to prophesise the deaths of 11 people at his own church gathering if he is so powerful as he claims to be? All pertinent. Why was he unable to heal or cure or save the injured at this church meeting when we are told he can work miracles? All pertinent. Which miracles does he perform? It's like the other one in Nigeria, TB Joshua, whose building collapsed when he is supposed to predict or foresee such events. What happened in Kwekwe proves beyond doubt that Magaya has no supernatural powers and is taking the gullible for a ride. Why should the injured be sent to hospital when there is a healer around? All pertinent. “Churches have become a source of domestic and international tourism…”! - where is this country heading? This is taking us back to the Dark Ages. What is the point of sending children to school to learn science when the children are taught to believe in occult? People should not be slavish about some of these things.

Musona - 23 November 2014

One sentence should read, “How come Magaya was unable to prophesy the deaths of 11 people at his own church gathering if he is so powerful as he claims to be?”

Musona - 23 November 2014

1. Matthew 7:20; Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them. 2. Matthew 24:11; And many false prophets shall rise and deceive many. 3. Isaiah 8:20; To the Law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. 4. 1 John 4:1; Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 5. Jeremiah 14:15; Therefore thus saith God concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, AND I SENT THEM NOT, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; by sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed. Take your time and study the import of these verses from the Holy writ. We are right in the days of the end and yet people are not seeing all this.

Maranatha! - 23 November 2014

Imi vanhuwe open your eyes. Aya machurch aanemainitiations. Uyu Mayaga spiritual father wake ndiTB Joshua. Keep going there and u become their sacrifice

mutsawashe - 23 November 2014

Recently Mugabe was reported at a funeral without mentioning a name to have said, "zvanzi danai nhingi? Muka shevedza iyeye anotozadza stadium. Hameno kuti ndezvakwamwari kana kuti ndezvakwamari". Mugabe dont want someone to take spotlight away from him. This incident may lead or trigger magaya probe. I also wonder why Magaya is taking blame without inquest proceedings. He seems to be afraid of the police. Civil claim can put him in a tight corner. It is very sad that the country is in a state where there is nothing but poverty and everyone expect some miracle of some sort.

X-MAN IV - 23 November 2014

Its so sad that lives were lost here. The blame game here is not working and will not save any purpose especially to those who lost their beloved ones. But hay who had the authority to open the gates? The venue is a city Council property if I am not wrong. My understanding is the owners of the venue will be having the keys to the venue and acting as instructed by the organisers of the event. Who would need the statistics of the event more, the police or the PHD? Am sure the police have even never head counted the attendees of a gathering even panouya the head of state. I understand the organisers of the event are the ones who hire the police for this duty since it is a private event which the police will not offer for free. Its left to the PHD to answer on having taken all the necessary steps for the safety of the people. There is something I am not getting right here. Upon entering how many gates were opened. Who opened the gates? Who closed the gates if they were opened for the same crowd to enter? Hameno kwakungonongedzanao apa.

Bla A.B - 24 November 2014

point of note Magaya haaporofite zvaanoda asin zvaanoudzwa naMwari kana Mwari vasina kumuonesa that event mkuda kty afembere? Hupenyu ndehwa Mwari even hwaMagaya ndehwaMwari kana wako ndehwaMwari hatiudzire Mwari zvekuita .kana asiri kuda kutionesa zviri mberi haadi haadi

ba chido - 24 November 2014

"THANK YOU PAPA THANK YOU PAPA" chii chacho ipapa, muchapera kusvetwa ropa nechikwambo chake, cha TB Joshua chakanwawo 2 or so months ago.....KWADZINOROHWA MATUMBU NDOKWADZINOMHANYIRA

Tatenda - 24 November 2014

Zvinotyisa kuti vanhu vaenda kunonamata Mwari vofa just like that. Mwari uyu anoti ruwoko rwangu haruna kupfupika kuti rukuponesei. I mean the all omnipotent God could have prevented the deaths. Maybe it was their way of death or Magaya's ministry is surrounded by mistry . He could have picked it in advance or at least resuscitated back to life the victims

Bc - 24 November 2014

May the souls of the deceased rest in peace and may the Holy Spirit comfort the bereaved families. To Prophet Magaya we are with you through thick n thin.

Hannah Miriam - 24 November 2014

My heart goes to all those who lost their beloved ones and may all those who lost their lives rest in peace. Having said that in my opinion there has to be something inherently 'wrong' about these so-called prophets. When TB Joshua's hostel collapsed the so-called man of God blamed it on plane or the Boko Haram. Really? Were the building plans for extra three floors approved? Closer to home we hear that at this so-called prophet's such gatherings people are not allowed to exit once they enter. In the first place why close the gates if the entrance is free? Has anyone ever asked why all these so-called prophets don't visit hospitals to heal the sick? It is sad to say but try arguing with anyone who goes to these churches then you realize that they are bewitched. Scratch the surface a bit deeper and you realize that all these evangelical churches whose origin is in the West Africa are nothing more than money spinning Ponzi schemes. The only difference here is that not only money is lost but lives as well.

sic - 24 November 2014

I'm forced to comment,even though i'm not A PHD member how can someone just quoted Jesus Christ as a crowed puller which some these things never happened?Zvii zvgangu vanhu vaitsikirirana to some extend murwere akadzikiswa nepamusoro peroof yemba vashaya pekupinda napo...The bible do not have to tell us about stampedes though they occurred as a lot happened which never was penned.During one of a stampede a woman touched Jesus' garment and got healed, upon enquirring some only said pple are pushing and shoving towards The Lord but if you read those two articles there were crowed trouble during the Lord sessions.However with Magaya the stampede only happened after the service on exit ...and we cannot blame Magaya since all thse happened whilst he had already gone.Lets not just qoute our Lord Jesus Christ unnecessarily .ZvemuBible siyai kana zvisire zvenyu tinonyara nevanhu vanongotaura kavasina kuswera.

givemore - 24 November 2014

Accidents don't just happen. They are caused. Now if you don't have measures in place to control crowds and at the same time lock up gates and add an incompetent police force with a Zimbabwe riot squad mentality a disaster is what you get. Dare I add a prophet of doom and the picture is all to see.

sic - 24 November 2014

It's sickening how of late it has become a game of numbers for these fake prophets, they are competing amongst each other to see who can pull the largest crowd. The stampede is not to be blamed on the police, the blame should be put squarely on Magaya and his overzealous henchmen who wanted to conduct a head count so they could boast the next day. It is so disheartening that the frail, the old, the suffering and those hoping for a better change were only rewarded with death, injuries and further despair. I also blame the government for making people's lives miserable to the point of becoming desperate and being taken advantage of by these money seeking and Bible holding enterpreuners. May God be with all the relatives that lost their beloved ones and may we be reminded that it is HE and deliverance we should seek not earthly riches from motivational speakers who disguise themselves as 'men of God.

Dr Know - 24 November 2014

Let us wait for the investigations not for the purpose of avoiding such incidents in future.There is lose of life here and anyone responsible must be cleared by the courts.It is unfortunate for the Magaya to accept the blame before investigations are completed.11 counts of homicide will await for him

kind - 24 November 2014

That is the way to go Prophet thank you for chipping in, this is really a sad scenario only God is able to comfort us in peace fellow Zimbabweans..we all have been affected by this

chikaz - 24 November 2014

Why blame the Police. He claims he is a great prophet. Why didnt he see this one coming. Beware of n'ngas which come in prophets name.

felix - 24 November 2014

Christianity was introduce to black people by whites from 1890. Magaya is a black person. It does not make any sense to me that a black person whose forebears were introduced to Christianity by whites is claiming to use Christianity to “heal” people Jesus-style. He is playing the biblical Jesus. I am not a religious person myself but my parents used to force me to go to church when I was young. Only Jesus, the son of God, was supposed to have supernatural powers to heal people. Is he mixing traditional “healing” (n'ganga) with Christian healing? Magaya cannot have it both ways. What is so special about Magaya that he has been “given” supernatural powers when his parents were ordinary people with no such supernatural powers? How come we never had black prophets during white rule? We never saw any whites, who are the ones who introduced Christianity, healing people.

Musona - 24 November 2014

bloody thirst cults its time to appease the underwolrd gods. hapana chiprofita apa.

hezvoka - 24 November 2014


pasirapinduka - 25 November 2014

zvakavanzika ndezvaMwari

ribhoh - 25 November 2014

When Zhanu PF was campaigning during the last elections it boasted of having over 76 000 supporters in the same stadium but no one complained. Now Prophet Magaya attracted more than 30 000 worshippers all of a sudden people are accussing of head counting the people. The overzealous police is to blame here. Just check at their statements contradicting each other, they first the people were tripping over each other then brew a shocker by saying a gas bottle leaked leading to an explosion which then caused a stampede. But relatives of the deceased have put the blame squarely on the police and we all know how they behave. For your own info a gas tank has a safety valve which does not allow flames to get into the tank. To be honest the police threw tear gas into the crowd because the crowd failed to move in a single file.

Mudhiniwe - 25 November 2014

FALSE PROPHET ,a spiritual robber .

grieved - 26 November 2014

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