Dar es Salaam. The deaths of 21 people during a church stampede at the ‘Arise and Shine Ministry Tanzania’ in Moshi, Kilimanjaro is one of about five such incidents to have occurred in Africa during the past ten years.
Living desperately, Africans from a number of countries tend to carry their frustrations to people who have given themselves a number of glorifying names including: ‘People of God’, ‘Prophets’ ‘Bishops’ and ‘Pastors’ among others.
The frustrated individuals go there in the hope that those people do possess invisible powers to solve their economic, social and religious predicaments.
The ‘People of God’ end up cashing in on people’s frustrations, leaving some of them poorer than they used to be while others end up dying or sustaining life-long injuries.
The Moshi tragedy happened when a crowd of worshippers was attending a prayer ceremony on Saturday led by a popular preacher, Boniface Mwamposa.
The stampede occurred when Mwamposa, who calls himself the "Apostle", poured what he said was ‘holy oil’ on the ground and the crowd surged forward to step on it (on Mwamposa’s oil) in the hope that it could cure them of their various sicknesses and help them to acquire economic fortunes.
Eyebrows were raised when Mwamposa reportedly flew to Dar es Salaam so he could lead a prayer session at his church’s other branch instead of attending to those who were injured at the stampede.
The following are some of the tragedies that have occurred in churches in Africa during the last ten years:
At least 28 people who attended the weekly crusade at the Holy Ghost Adoration Ministry, Uke, in Idemili North local government area of Anambra State on November 2, 2013 lost their lives during a stampede.
The incident took place at the early hours of November 2, 2013 during the event that was organized by Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Obinma for prayers, healing and spiritual retreat.
More than 100,000 people were said to have gathered at the venue of the incident.
At least 11 Zimbabweans lost their lives on November 21, 2014 in a stampede which occurred after a religious service.
Four people died in the stadium in the central town of Kwekwe, while seven others were declared dead on arrival in hospital.
The stampede occurred as thousands of worshippers rushed to leave after the service by popular Pentecostal preacher, Walter Magaya who claims to be able to heal people by performing miracles.
Eight people were pronounced dead as 20 others sustained injuries in March 2017 during a stampede after a church event in the capital Lusaka.
The stampede occurred when organizers of a prayer event started distributing free food parcels to the crowds that had attended the event – an outreach program at the Church of Christ’s Olympic Youth Development Center (OYDC) – on Sunday, March 5.
Five died on the spot while three died at hospitals where they were rushed for medical attention.
4. South Africa
Three women died and nine others were injured at Prophet Shepherd Bushiri’s Enlightened Christian Gathering Church in Pretoria on Friday evening of December 28, 2018.
Three women were killed and nine others were injured during as they took part in Shepherd Bushiri's church service around 8pm at hall C.