Firebrand evangelist and prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa is still to return to the country for the Catch the Fire event taking place in Zimbabwe’s capital city from August 15-21, where he is expected to be the main attraction.

Words from his followers and his aides are that the high flying reverend who is currently holed in the United Kingdom is that he will return home before the conference that has two other top pastors who include Ugandan “Apostle” Robert Kayanja and Pastor Wutawashe. But on Monday Makandiwa was not reported to be in the country.

“The media is making unnecessary noise. The fact is that Makandiwa will return when he finishes his holiday,” said a close aide of the top preacher. When Makandiwa left Zimbabwe two weeks ago, his spokesperson Pastor Kufa told that Makandiwa is on a holiday.

Investigations have revealed that Makandiwa is in the United Kingdom (and not in the US, as it was reported before) and word  like a veld fire has spread in the country that Makandiwa might be on the run to avoid prosecution for a phone-top-up project turned sour.

Makandiwa’s absence at the highly advertised conference has only but fanned the flames of speculation that he is on the run.

Repeated efforts to get a comment from Makandiwa’s spokesperson Pastor Kufa were fruitless.

However, Admire Taderera, a spokesperson of Heartfelt International, has maintained that Makandiwa’s absence would not stop the Evangelical conference. He said that Makandiwa was just an invited guest to speak for a day. “We are going ahead with the programme because Catch the Fire is not prophet Makandiwa’s idea. He was just an invited guest who shares a strong relationship with the founder of Heartfelt International.”

Makandiwa is said to have the country in a scruff as he feared arrest for the phone project. To add to his problems, Makandiwa has been sued for more than $680,000 by a Harare businessman, who claims Makandiwa stole his project.