Growing up in a Christian household, Emmanuel Makandiwa was actively involved in organizing gospel crusades and preaching.
He eventually moved to Harare and pursued a Diploma in Theology at the A.F.M’s Living Waters Theological Seminary, which he completed in 2002. According to Makandiwa, he received a calling from God in a vision in 1995, before he graduated.
Following his studies, Makandiwa served as an assistant pastor in Matabeleland under Reverend Aspher Madziyire, the former President of AFM.
He later became a pastor in various assemblies, including Shangani, How Mine, and Hebron in Chitungwiza.
In August 2008, Makandiwa founded an inter-denominational church, which gained widespread attention. His sermons were even broadcast on Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation television.
It was reported that Makandiwa concentrated much in his newly founded inter-denominational church, causing him to neglect his responsibilities at his Chitungwiza assembly.
As a result, the executives at AFM gave him a choice to either remain with AFM or solely focus on UFIC, and he opted for the latter.
In 2010, Makandiwa changed the name of his church to United Family International Church (UFIC).
1. Mass Wedding Ceremony
In November 2014, Emmanuel Makandiwa organized a large-scale wedding ceremony, which went against the government’s directive to halt such events. The government had previously noted that such ceremonies were being used by foreign nationals to enter into marriages of convenience with Zimbabweans to obtain citizenship.
Makandiwa’s mass wedding ceremony was met with criticism from traditionalists, who argued that it was against cultural customs to hold weddings during the month of November.
2. Allegations Of Being A Fake Prophet
In February 2014, a group of pastors from Ghana accused Emmanuel Makandiwa of using charms to perform his controversial miracles. They went as far as planning to report him to Zimbabwe’s former president, Robert Mugabe, to have his church banned.
Leo Mugabe, Robert Mugabe’s nephew, also reportedly supported the pastors’ claims by alleging that Makandiwa had failed to heal his mother, who had been in a coma for about four years.
These accusations led some to question the authenticity of Makandiwa’s healing powers, as well as the legitimacy of self-proclaimed prophets who had emerged in Zimbabwe around 2012.
Another South African prophet alleged that Makandiwa and Uebert Angel had received ritual charms from their spiritual mentor, Prophet Victor Kusi Boateng, who is from Ghana.
In August 2020, Emmanuel Makandiwa claimed that he had foretold the use of hydroxychloroquine as a cure to Covid-19.
During a live televised Sunday sermon, he stated that he had made this prediction on February 9, 2020, before scientists had even begun to study and understand the novel disease.
Emmanuel Makandiwa also claimed that he had prophesied the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic during a sermon in January 2015.
He stated that he had repeated this prophecy in 2016 and 2017 during UFIC church services at the City Sports Centre in Harare.
He then made two additional prophecies, emphasizing the severity of the strange disease, which he said had “emerged from the sea.”
Makandiwa also accused the Chinese of manipulating the disease to their advantage and suggested that the Asian country, believed to be the origin of the pandemic, was reluctant to reveal how many of its nationals had recovered from the disease.
In January 2021, Makandiwa claimed that Covid-19 vaccines “tampered with the DNA” of Africans and vowed to go to prison rather than take one.
On 25 July 2021, during a live broadcast, Makandiwa urged his followers to get vaccinated against Covid-19, which was a u-turn from his previous claim that the vaccine was the ‘Mark of the Beast’.
4. Emmanuel Makandiwa, Oceane Perfumes, Upenyu And Blessing Mashangwa
Upenyu and Blessing Mashangwa accused Makandiwa of making a false prophecy that their company, Oceane Perfumes, would flourish and attract international investment, leading them to invest heavily in the business.
However, the company eventually collapsed, and they claimed that they had suffered significant financial losses as a result of Makandiwa’s prophecy. They filed a lawsuit against Makandiwa and his wife Ruth, seeking compensation of US$6.5 million for their losses.