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GEGE – Melika Jericho Church in Zion elders have warned members of the church against a South Africa-based member who wants to lure the congregants to join him.

History has pointed out that the Jericho Church in Zion was founded by Melika Gadlasenyama Vilakati, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. However, the church split into two factions after the death of the founder. This was after some family members and senior priests were in disagreement over the rightful successors. The differences resulted in Bishop Khanyakwezwe and his bother Bishop Bhekibandla leading the two factions. This means that the emergence of a new leader may give birth to a third faction. Speaking at a vigil ahead of their cleansing ceremony at Gege, senior member of the Vilakati household, Jeremiah Vilakati, said the elders were disturbed by an emerging congregant whom he said had claimed to have been sent by God to lead the church.


Vilakati said the elders had learnt with concern that the moneyed congregant had on numerous occasions tried to lure some of the South Africa-based congregants into submitting to him as opposed to coming to Eswatini. “We have heard about a South Africa based man, who claims to have been sent by God to lead the Jericho Church. All we know is that God appeared once to Melika Gadlasenyama Vilakati. The founder left a succession plan, which we implemented as a family and priests. The founder left his legacy to the family and the church before he passed away. During his lifetime, he made it clear that he was called to unite different nations, meaning the Jericho church will operate without borders,” Jeremiah said.

He said the church was rooted in the Holy Spirit, which served as a guide since God appeared to the founder. He said the Holy Spirit still served as a guide even during the leadership of Bishop Khanyakwezwe. Jeremiah said as the elders of the church, they wondered how the congregant was different from the congregants who came from Botswana, South Africa and Mozambique, among other countries. “At times, these may be signs of sickness which need healing. Bring him so that he may get help. The founder of the church shared how God dealt with those who went against His Will,” he said.

Some congregants confirmed knowledge of the congregant who was claiming to have been sent by God to lead the church. The congregants believed that Jeremiah omitted his name for ethical reasons. “He is known to us. He is so moneyed that he can win the hearts of desperate congregants. We thank our bishop for coming out clearly that he will never be swayed by money.  I think we have learnt a good thing from him,” they said briefly.   


Jeremiah appreciated the presence of the congregants from other countries, who came in numbers for the cleansing ceremony. The turnout increase of the Melika Jericho Church in Zion members over the weekend showed the need for the extension of the newly-built E10 million structure. The congregants in attendance doubled the size of the church, resulting in some following proceedings from outside screens.  The elders shared that the increase was mainly caused by the return of the congregants who joined the other factions and those who joined the church from other denominations. The elders also stated that some congregants were just members of the other churches who were interested in the cleansing, which they said was nondiscriminatory. The cleansing lasted for over five hours as nobody wanted to leave without being cleansed.

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