HARARE, Feb 16 – Popular Nigerian psychic TB Joshua has predicted the death of an aging African leader.
In Zimbabwe, some hope that the self-proclaimed prophet is referring to Robert Mugabe.
Meanwhile the president’s supporters continue to hope in the 88-year-old’s immortality.
“I’m seeing a head of state and by that I mean a president. He is not feeling well. He is very old. What am I seeing now? It’s a sudden death. I’m seeing the death of an old African president in two months.”
This prediction came from the controversial Nigerian televangelist and self-proclaimed faith healer and prophet, Temitope Balogun Joshua, popularly known as TB Joshua during one of his recent sermons.
Both friends and enemies of Zimbabwe’s long-serving leader are now asking in hushed tones whether Joshua is referring to President Robert Mugabe.
Although the Christian minister never stated who he is actually referring to, many victims of Mugabe’s 32 year rule silently hope it is their aging president.
“Wishing death on someone is unholy. But Mugabe’s death would be a blessing to this country,” says Thabani Masuku (30), who lost his father during a 1983 massacre in the western region where locals strongly opposed Mugabe’s rule.
For Mugabe’s loyalists, the prediction makes them either nervous or dismissive. “I do not believe these prophecies of doom,” Rugare Gumbo, spokesperson for Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, told a local tabloid. “It goes against tradition. You do not talk about such things. It is taboo.”
Mugabe is just one of many aging African heads of state. TB Joshua could also be referring to: Senegal’s Abdoulaye Wade (85), Kenya’s Mwai Kibaki (81), Cameroon’s Paul Biya (79), Zambia’s Michael Sata (75), Angola’s Eduardo Dos Santos (69) and Congo Brazzaville’s Denis Sassou Nguesso (69).
Although still looking rather fit for his advanced age, Mugabe (88) has flown over eight times to Asia in the last year to seek treatment for suspected prostate cancer.
In a diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks, Gideon Gono, the central bank governor and Mugabe confidante, said to a US envoy that Mugabe’s doctors say his deteriorating health condition will not take him beyond 2013.
Although Zimbabweans are exposed to the statements of prophets on a daily basis, the popular Joshua’s predictions are taken more seriously than most. In the past, Joshua has been consulted by African politicians such as current Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, former Zambian President Fredrick Chiluba and former Gabonese President Oma Bongo.
Joshua claims to have foretold many other world-shaking events, including the death of Michael Jackson, the resignation of Pakistan’s former President Pervez Musharraf and the death of former Zambian President Mwanawasa.
(First published on Radio Netherlands Worldwide