Tempers flared late afternoon on Monday near Mangochi Four Ways Robots when a street ‘preacher’ made claims that he was Jesus Christ and that his second coming as promised was now due.
The preacher, clad in a white rob with red horizontal stripes, made people who were passing by to stop in their tracks when he made the claims and soon, the scattered ‘congregants’ closed in on him and started to quiz him.
But the man, who had mounted a mobile Public Address system comprising two small horn speakers and an amplifier to aid his gospel, insisted that he was Jesus Christ and that it was up to the people to accept it or not.
The preacher’s persistence angered ‘his congregants’ who started to rough him up and just when others started to stone him, police intervened and whisked him away.
“We found it very annoying, disrespectful and intolerable for one to make such claims so we wanted to teach him that he can choose to be whatever he would like but not to make fun of sacred names – that’s a blasphemy,” said one of the eyewitnesses who only identified himself as Jaf.
Mangochi Police Station Spokesperson, Inspector Rodrick Maida, confirmed the development.
Maida, who identified the preacher as 40-year-old Saidi Pius, said the man had indeed caused confusion and that had the police not intervened in time, people would have hurt him.
“Our traffic police officers who were going to have their patrol vehicle fueled at PUMA Filling Station stumbled on the scene and sensing danger some officers jumped off the vehicle and approached the scene on foot,” explained Maida.
“The officers managed to contain the irate mob and took a motorbike for the preacher to be taken to the station, his mobile PA system and bicycle followed later in the police vehicle,” added Maida.
The police spokesperson said when he was interrogated at the station, Pius gave “uncoordinated statements” which made the law enforcers suspect him to be mentally unstable, a condition his brother, Witness Pius, confirmed when he was later summoned to the police.
The police found it not safe enough to set Pius free until hours later when the ‘congregants’ who had followed and were lurking around the police premises had dispersed.
Around the same time of the year in 2006, one Raphael Matiki made headlines with similar claims in Blantyre’s Chilomoni Township which angered the residents. They evicted him from the township.
‘Jesus’ Matiki as he was popularly known, fled to Machinjiri with his four wives and ‘disciples’ where he was also descended upon for the same claims by angry residents.
He was also rescued by police who took him to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital for medical examination but he discharged himself saying, as Jesus, he needed no mortal treatment.
Like Pius, Matiki was accused of blasphemy by many he preached his claims to.
Saidi Pius comes from Maso Village in Traditional Authority Chowe in Mangochi.