South African celebrities were as shocked as the rest of us after learning that Pastor Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary had fled the country while they were supposed to be awaiting trial.

If South Africa was a movie, then this is a plot twist that many of us would have seen coming. On Saturday morning South Africans awoke to the news that the leader of the Enlightened Gathering Church, Pastor Bushiri had escaped to Malawi along with his wife. The controversial Man of God had been released on bail, following his arrest in October on charges of money laundering and fraud, and when the news of his departure broke, hardly anybody was surprised; least of all our most famous celebrities.

Mzansi stars react to Bushiri’s escape

It seems as if many South Africans could have predicted that the under-fire Bushiri would attempt to flee the country, even if Magistrate Thandi Thelede didn’t quite see it the same way when she granted the pastor and his wife bail of R200,000 each at the beginning of November. Less than two weeks after that, however, the country’s citizens were proven right as Bushiri somehow managed to engineer an escape back to his home country of Malawi.

Sizwe Dhlomo made this exact point when he wrote on Twitter that Bushiri, “…had fake IDs & passports. What did we think he was going to do?Meanwhile Anele Mdoda was lost for words, like many of her countrymen and women. She simply wrote:

 

How Did Bushiri manage to skip the country?

Your guess is as good as anybody’s at this point in time, although there are a number of theories currently doing the rounds online. One such theory questions the role of Malawi’s own head of state; President Lazarus Chakwera was in Pretoria on the same day Bushiri was said to have escaped. The president’s flight back home was also mysteriously delayed on that fateful evening, as some have pointed out.

 

How Bushiri managed to escape? Another Twitter theory (image credit: https://twitter.com/Kem19801)

Reports across major news suggest that the pastor and his wife could have bribed border officials into letting them first escape to Lesotho, then eventually Malawi.

Independent Online published transcripts from an officer, part of which read, “It is suspected that they bribed some Home Affairs officials to let them cross the border and we are still not sure how they left Lesotho to Malawi. We understand that after Bushiri and his wife reported at Midrand police station as per their bail condition on Wednesday, they didn’t go back to their house but decided to escape. We suspect that there are a number of people who helped them to escape,”

Mboro weighs in on Bushiri escape – “We are not close.”

As multiple South African government officials declare their plans to bring Bushiri back, the religious leader is singing a different tune from his homeland of Malawi. He has vowed to only return when those in the justice system meet his and his wife’s demands:

How do you think the rest of this story is going to play out?

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