The Immigration Department has refused Zimbabwean prophet Uebert Angel entry into Zambia at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka. Angel, the founder of the Pentecostal Spirit Embassy, was scheduled to hold a crusade at the Show Grounds in Lusaka. He, his wife and two others arrived with Emirates from the UK, but they were all sent back on the same plane.

Minister of National Guidance and Religious Affairs Godfridah Sumaili explained: “Only men of God, be it pastors, missionaries and prophets preaching the true gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ will be allowed in the country”. Sumaili said it was wrong for Angel to charge K2,000 for a ticket to the Millionaire Academy. “It is taking people for granted, especially those desperate for spiritual attention. Is the gospel for the rich people only? What about the poor Zambians? Some prophets just want to come and extort money and go back, which my ministry will not allow”.

The crusade allegedly went ahead with Angel leading the conference via his Miracle TV: “No-one can stop the work of God not even a government,” said Angel’s spokesman Rikki Doolan, who explained: Angel “had a visa to enter Zambia, but he was told of stringent conditions, which he refused to comply with, and opted to go back to Britain”. A source in the church told the Zimbabwe News that Angel had been denied entry into Zambia, because he “is being accused of pouring a lot of money into opposition leader Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s presidential bid last year”, but the church denied this.

Bishop Simon Chihana, president of the International Fellowship of Christian Churches, a church mother body for independent churches in Zambia, was concerned: “The screening of churches and Christian organisations is a good idea, but the criteria for screening can be a big challenge. Currently a number of pastors coming from outside have suffered some small persecutions. We had an Evangelist that held a crusade at the Heroes Stadium, who was stopped from laying hands on the sick, and yet it is biblical to lay hands on the sick. Then we had an Evangelist by the name of Christopher Alam, who has always come to Zambia for crusades, but he was also stopped on false accusations, and last week Prophet Angel was denied entry on unjustified grounds. Government must be very careful with this screening (…) when it is not government but a few individuals outside government who are influencing such undesirable decisions.”

Sumaili simply turned up the heat. She told Lusaka Times that even in Zambia there are a lot of false prophets and questionable churches with strange doctrines contrary to the Bible. If these “spurious churches” do not come back to Christ, they should not be allowed to minister in Zambia. Apparently, her ministry has already closed two churches, and more will follow. No names were mentioned.