Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa was born in December 1977 into a family of small farmers. His parents are elders in the Apostolic Faith Mission Church in Muzarabani district of Mashonaland Central Province. In 1993, Makandiwa and other boys of his age spent six months with the late pastor Mukwaira on “crusades”. Makandiwa , after completing his secondary education at Zengeza High school in Chitungwiza , returned to help his parents till the land. In Muzarabani , Makandiwa started taking God’s word seriously and the next four years turned his life around.
With his parents he organised gospel crusades and preached from home. In 1995, he was reportedly called in a vision by God to deliver his people from the bondage of Satan and teamed up with local AFM Pastor Rev. Munyengeterwa on gospel crusades. In 2000, Makandiwa enrolled at the AFM’s Living Waters Theological Seminary in Harare, graduating in 2002. During the same year, he married Ruth Makawa .
After finishing his pastoral studies, Rev Makandiwa chose to go to Matabeleland and worked as an assistant pastor under the supervision of Rev. Madzivire , who is now the president of AFM . “I started ministry in Bulawayo in 2003. When I moved to Harare in 2006 it was Evangelist Chiweshe who welcomed me into the province he was heading in Chitungwiza . And he gave me an assembly to pastor. As my overseer I could see his effective leadership style as he led by example. He could call me any time to lay his hands on me or give guidance. I would not hesitate to say that of all the men I have come across in Zimbabwe, here was the only man I can boldly declare was full of wisdom and exhibited a high level of maturity.” echoed Prophet Makandiwa , as he was expressing how he felt over the death of Evangelist P Chiweshe .
After ordination, he was given an assembly in Shangani where he became the talk of the neighbourhood with his demonstrations of the power of God. In 2004, he was transferred to How Mine and subsequently to Hebron Assembly in Chitungwiza .
Prophet Makandiwa started his own Church, called United Family Interdenominational Ministries in August 2008. By then it was just more of a lunch hour fellowship and members would meet at the Anglican Cathedral, Cnr Sam Nujoma / Nelson Mandela. From the first day, the hall was filled to capacity (approximately 600 people) and by the following day the fellowship encountered an overflow as people swarmed from the Parliament side just to get a glimpse of proceedings. By the second day people would come as early as 1100hrs for a lunch fellowship which only started at 1300hrs . This phenomenon has stuck as a benchmark to date as people flock The City Sports Centre (current venue) as early as 0600hrs for the service which begins at 1000hrs .
Between 2009 and 2010, other vibrant Pastors within AFM also followed suit, and launched their own “fellowship” services, and this did not go down well with the supreme leadership of AFM , which is known and the AFM Apostolic Council. In early 2010, Makandiwa who was still a pastor by then, was suspended from Ministering at the AFM Hebron assembly (in Chitungwiza ), after he failed to honour the Council’s resolution that no pastor shall run or lead an interdenominational organisation . This must have been the time when the Prophet went to Ghana to have a meeting with His Spiritual Father, Prophet Victor Boateng , who inspired him and spiritually advised him on how to set up his own church. Upon his return from Ghana he began using the title “Prophet”, since he was known as a Pastor during the time that he was with AFM .
There are also some who claim that his expulsion from the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM ) was a result of serious differences over the source of his “healing” powers, while other churches accuse him of “stealing their people”. Always controversial, some men have gone so far as to accuse him of ruining their marriages by exposing their extra-marital affairs to their wives through his prophecies. His followers say these allegations are a result of jealousy. Some pastors and leaders of various churches have also questioned the origin of the power Prophet E Makandiwa uses to perform his miracles or prophecies, this was further worsened when the media competed in writing articles about Prophet Makandiwa soon after he launched his Spiritual Link Airtime Juice Cards in August 2011, a move that POTRAZ said could have violated the laws of the country.
In April 2011, Makandiwa led a National All Night Prayer at the National Sports Stadium, where he filled the 60,000 seater stadium with his followers from all parts of the nation. This was the forth time the National Sports Stadium had been full to capacity since 1980, (the first time was during the 1980 Independence celebrations, second time was in 2010 when Zimbabwe played soccer against Brazil and the third time was also in 2010 when ZAOGA hosted its 50 years jubilee celebrations).
The greater part of Makandiwa’s close buddies are well respected and recognized men of God. Chief among them are Apostle T Vutabwashe , who is the founder and head of Heartfelt Ministries. Their companion has been existing for years, Apostle Vutabwashe would host an annual “Catch the fire Revival Crusade” even when he was still pastoring in AFM and Makandiwa would oftenly if not always be invited as the most dynamic guest speaker. His other close friends include Prophet Uebert Angel, who is the founder and head of Spirit Embassy International and Bishop Albert Chikuni , who is the founder of Family Life Ministries International.
Prophet Makandiwa’s church, United Family Interdenominational Church (UFIC ) meets on Sundays at the City Sports Centre in Harare from 10am to about 5pm . There is an evening service that runs on Tuesday at the same venue from 6pm to about 8pm . Another Evening service is conducted in Chitungwiza on Thursdays from 6pm to about 8pm . They have since secured their own stand in Chitungwiza , where plans to start constructing their 30,000 seater church are at an advanced stage. The church, however, now has branches in almost every city, and they are still planting new branches in other cities and towns of the country.
Prophet E Makandiwa is well known for his powerful sermons, and his favourite area of preaching is the topic of Prosperity. He is also famous throughout the country and also in neighbouring countries for his miracles and prophecies that have been confirmed to be true by a great number of people throughout the country. A number of people have been reportedly healed of various diseases including Cancer and HIV after receiving prayers from Prophet Makandiwa . He indeed is both one of the youngest universally known pastors from Zimbabwe, as well as one of the richest pastors in Zimbabwe.
United Family International Church (UFIC) founder Emmanuel Makandiwa owns a controlling stake in Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed Radar Holdings (Private) Limited (Radar) among other multi-million dollar businesses.
The popular prophet, who believes in the doctrine of hard work and servant leadership modelled along biblical greats such as King David, also owns a raft of businesses, including agricultural concerns.
As details of his private life emerge, the charismatic preacher who draws up to 50 000 congregants at his church services per week, also owns a huge stake in entertainment giant, Sterkinekor’s franchise locally and in Zambia.
Such is the man’s riches that Makandiwa is building a multi-million dollar house in Glen Lorne, which has often been mistaken for a hotel.
Prime Kufa, the UFIC leader’s spokesperson, confirmed to the Daily News that indeed his boss was building a mansion touted as a “mission house for foreign dignitaries and visitors”.
He however, did not rule out the possibility that Makandiwa might end up using one of the wings to the mansion as his house.
Said Kufa: “Yes, there is a building project underway in Glen Lorne and I can tell you it is not a hotel or boutique as reported earlier but it is a mission house to cater for our VIP guests who visit us.”
Kufa, who was flanked by UFIC finance director Elias Hwenga, told the Daily News that the ministry’s free-to-air television channel has resulted in a lot of international visitors coming into the country and some of those visitors, especially pastors, may want to have a place where they can interact with Makandiwa at the mission house.
Incidentally, Hwenga is also the Radar managing director, according to a 2013 Central African Stock Exchanges handbook.
Kufa said the project “was not a business venture but Makandiwa is using his personal funds in the project”.
There have been allegations that Makandiwa could be using church funds to live a wealthy lifestyle where he can afford to build a huge mansion and drive top-of-the-range vehicles, but Kufa insisted that Makandiwa gets money from his huge businesses.
“When people hear that the man of God is doing A, B, C or D, all what comes to their minds is that there are church funds involved.
“If that was the case, how is it possible that the man of God is our biggest benefactor and the ministry owes him a lot of money?
“In that respect, we feel that as sons, we have also let him down by not divulging some of the man of God’s sources to the public domain.
“He is a man who believes his private life is just that — private!
“Even UFIC members do not even know some of the information we will give you here. He is never one to go out and brag about what he owns and I am sure all of you in the media can testify to that.
This is why no one has ever been able to interview him as he always maintains that it is not about Makandiwa but about Jesus.”
“But we being close to him ought to have pierced part of that veil which makes the man a mystery and told the world the other side of Makandiwa that they do not know,” said Kufa.
Makandiwa’s spokesperson added that his boss is also undertaking other business projects locally and internationally.
“These are not just claims but information that can be accessed as it is available in the public domain.
“That has always been his philosophy from long back and I remember him quoting for me from Acts 20:33-34,” he said: “I coveted no man’s silver or gold or costly garments. You yourselves know personally that these hands ministered to my own needs and those of the persons who were with me” (AMP) as he was teaching me why I should embark on projects as a pastor,” Kufa added.
The spokesperson said it is folly for people to think that Makandiwa could single-handedly build a 30 000-seater church, look after nearly 2 000 orphans, 300-plus widows and be constantly donating houses with his only source of income being the church.
“He has never come knocking on the doors of the finance office in search of money ever since but has actually helped the church to pay its bills.
“I cannot speak for him during his tenure at the Apostolic Faith Mission, as I was not part of his congregation but ever since the establishment of UFIC, we have never seen that,” said Kufa.
“He is one that believes in financial integrity to the effect that he invites all those members that wish to have a look into our finances to freely do so and many can bear witness to the financial prudence that prevails in the organisation.”
The close Makandiwa aide said “people ought to be fair to the man and not criticise him just because they do not understand him”.
“If what he is doing for the church and community at large is not enough to qualify him to live the life that he lives, I do not know what will.
“For example if he has bought his assistants and pastors Mercedes Benz vehicles, given out more than 400 cars, is it too much if he drives a Mercedes Benz himself.
“Show me a man that is doing more for his community and I will gladly pledge to be praying for him every day of my life.”