Flamboyant United Family International Church (UFIC) founder Emmanuel Makandiwa will soon launch a television station dedicated to his ministry as he steps up efforts to capture a national audience.
Makandiwa’s publicists all agreed the television station is a done deal.
“It is true we have our own station now and it should be launched as soon as this weekend. Its highly likely nit will not be any different from other Christian channels,” a senior pastor who declined to be named said.
Another pastor in the UFI publicity department who identified himself as Pastor Kwaramba said he was not sure about dates.
“Dates of launch have not been announced but you are right it’s on. It is already available on Wizitech and people can watch it,” Kwaramba said.
Asked on whether the church had gone through the rigors of registration with the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), Kwaramba said he was not in the know.
“I am in the publicity department and we do not deal with technical issues. Some other people do that and I cannot comment on whether they have done that but I can only assume that they have all the necessary papers because we are ready to launch,” said Kwaramba.
Led by prophet Emmnauel Makandiwa the UFI has grown to be one of the biggest Pentecostal churches in Zimbabwe. His controversial public healing sessions and prophecies have won him both supporters and critics.
Makandiwa is increasing his influence in Zimbabwean society through a series of media-related acquisitions and expansion of church property in Chitungwiza, one of the most densely populated parts of the country.
Of late he has had his sermons broadcast by national broadcaster ZBC as delayed episodes.
In April 2012, tourism minister Walter Mzembi described Makandiwa as a tourist attraction, who draws huge crowds to his congregations, the young preacher has also been nominated by Pan-African publication New African named Prophet Makandiwa one of the 100 most influential Africans in the Religion/Traditional Leader category.
UFIC was launched by Makandiwa, as an inter-denominational lunch-hour fellowship at the Anglican Cathedral in Harare. The fellowship was so popular, that after only a week at the cathedral, it moved to the State Lotteries Hall and subsequently to the City Sports Centre.
On July 26, 2011, his church launched a program of “spiritual airtime cards” which generated controversy in business and legal circles.
Later the church applied for a licence (granted on March 8, 2012) to launch a monthly magazine The Family.
Makandiwa’s official spokesperson Pastor Prime Kufa was not available for comment as his mobile went unanswered. The expansion of his media empire Makandiwa could be moving away from reliance on institutions owned by the state and private players who at times have turned on him delving into his personal life.
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