Johannesburg – Nigeria’s massively wealthy religious leader TB Joshua arrived on a private jet in Harare on Friday for his first “crusade” in Zimbabwe.Joshua, whose real name is Temitope Baogun Joshua, was invited by Zimbabwe’s richest ‘‘pastor’’ Walter Magaya for a week-long visit before the Easter holiday.
In the midst of Zimbabwe’s worst economic crisis, Magaya and other new era religious leaders, have made fortunes in Zimbabwe.
TB Joshua is on an Easter ‘ crusade, in Zimbabwe.
Joshua will address Magaya’s followers and will also visit the poor during his Zimbabwe ‘‘crusade’’, according to a press briefing in Harare on Thursday.
Tourism minister Walter Mzembi said Joshua’s visit was welcome.
“Religious tourism is very important for the country. It will create jobs locally and bring in foreign currency as many people come for the crusade,” he said.
Several government leaders are understood to be planning to visit Joshua during his visit at a time when there is huge political uncertainty within the ruling Zanu PF over who will succeed Robert Mugabe when he dies.
The TB Joshua brand was not always popular with the Zimbabwe government as he made several prophecies about Mugabe’s health prior to the previous elections.
Three years ago more than 80 South Africans died when the building housing Joshua’s church ‘‘hostel’’ in Lagos collapsed.
Magaya is the wealthiest of Zimbabwe’s religious leaders and is building a flat-roofed mansion in a leafy, semi rural suburb east of Harare.
The building is using the only crane operating in Harare at present and several South African builders and engineers are involved the construction of the extraordinary hilltop home.