Kalibu “Christian” Academy

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From the homepage of kalibuacademy.org:

“Kalibu Ademy is set on a breath-taking estate with a panoramic view at the foot of Michiru Conservation Mountain off Chileka Road 10 kilometres from the heart of Blantyre City, Malawi. The site is an ideal setting for an effective learning institution as it is situated away from the hustle and bustle of city activities.

The establishment of Kalibu Academy was realized after some 20 years of visionary planning. Finances did not come from any one particular big donor but from small donations of individual Christians and well-wishers from all over the world. Work progressed and continues to progress in phases as and when donations flow in.

The academy, which is still in various stages of development, sits on 33 hectares (72 acres) of land and is the brainchild of Reverend Michael Howard, founder of Kalibu Kwa Yesu Ministries. Kalibu is a Swahili word that means ‘welcome,’ but actually more than that, “Welcome to dine.” Kalibu Kwa Yesu therefore is literally translated to mean, “Welcome to dine with us with Jesus.”


One of the questions that continues to surface about Kalibu is whether or not it is a Christian Academy.

When I first learned of the school, it appeared to be just that.  From every outward appearance, this is a Christian institution.  Michael Howard preaches that he only hires spirit-filled Christians as teachers and staff, that everything is run by Kingdom principles, and that he had a mandate from the Lord to build this school in Malawi, after abandoning a very similar school in Southern Sudan.

When I think of all I’ve learned about Kalibu Academy as I’ve begun to peel back the layers, the scripture that immediately comes to mind is the following:

“But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.”

The leadership of Kalibu Academy, starting with Founder and Director Michael Thomas Howard, and flowing through Headmaster Paisley Mavutula and Deputy Headmaster Norma Konono is utterly corrupt.  Every stone we turn over uncovers more corruption, unrighteousness and sin, yet from outward appearances, they are running an upstanding school.  How can this be?  How can it be that they bless God with their mouths, yet curse others made in His image?  Yet, this is what we find at every turn.  The fruit of this school is rotten, and the students that have left are not serving the Lord.  In fact, most of the ones we’ve spoken to want nothing to do with the version of God that was force-fed to them at Kalibu: a school that promises a “spirit of excellence reaching the heavens…”

To better understand Kalibu, we have to understand a little about the man behind it, because it is through him that the anti-Christ spirit operates.  In his latest promotional video on his “greatness,” which you can find here, we hear Michael from the very beginning tell us how special he is.

“My name is Michael Howard and I am the director of Kalibu Ministries here in Malawi and Mozambique and actually in Africa.”  He then rattles off a list of other ministries, including Out of Africa in Finland and Shekinah Ministries in the USA.  For more on these corrupt organizations, follow the links on this site.  We see from the very beginning that his narcissistic personality takes over and he begins to tell us how great he is, how great the ministry is, and how he was specially chosen at a young age.  All throughout, he is careful to throw in things about the Lord and to credit everything he’s doing to God.  If this were true, this would be an amazing man!  A real soldier of Christ!

The problem is that none of it is true; it is all fabricated and embellished to make Michael Howard seem like much more than he is, and really takes all the credit away from the Lord and gives it to him.  He pays the Lord lipservice, but his heart is far from Him.  This is the same man who preys upon young men and abuses them.  This is the same man that verbally and physically abuses every single person that he comes in contact with.  This is the same man that has been caught time and time again in sin and yet refuses to repent.  Each time, he just relocates, changes the story, finds a new group of followers, raises more money and continues on…

One of his early victims, Paisley Mavutula, has now grown into his protege, and currently serves as the headmaster of Kalibu.  Paisley is a womanizer, adulterer and murderer.  The list of women he has slept with grows by the week as we uncover more corruption, and it has never been affected by who he’s currently married to.  He has forced at least one woman to have an abortion and has beaten and threatened numerous others.  This is the man in charge of 800 students, 600 of which are boarding students.  This is the man that parents trust their precious children with.  Of course, where did he learn his habits and where did he get this spirit?  From the man he calls, “Dad,” Michael Thomas Howard.

Paisley was sexually abused by Michael at an early age, but he never developed a taste for other men, like Michael did.  Instead, he simply learned to deal with the abuse because he realized that if he let Michael molest him, he could manipulate the man.  You’ll find several testimonies reported here, and others have told us privately, that Paisley has stated over the years to those who have reported Michael’s homosexual abuse, “you’ll get through it, we all did.”

Paisley did get through it and then he set his sights on the school.  He knew that if he could pacify Michael and allow him to move on to other boys without complaining, he could climb up the ladder from sleeping on a dirt floor in a hut to Headmaster of a large and very profitable school.  Every corner of Kalibu Academy benefits Paisley Mavutula.  He beats the kids and workers, he sleeps with the teachers that he chooses or fires them, he skims money off all the contracts, he sells staple goods to the school at a markup and he lines his pockets with donor cash and gifts.  All the while, he draws a hefty salary as headmaster, lives rent and utility free in a large house on the compound and drives Kalibu vehicles filled with Kalibu diesel.

He’s learned well how to smile to the parents while yelling and beating the students at whim.  He runs the administrative office with an iron fist and anyone who gets out of line is either beaten or fired.  He employs a network of spies, ranging from the garden workers to the house attendants to the guards and select teachers and students.  All of them report to Paisley about everything that they hear and see, and he then uses this information against whoever is in his current sights, while attributing the knowledge to the Holy Spirit.  Nothing but pure blasphemy.

His cunning ways and cash payoffs have even been able to divert the eyes of the government of Malawi and the Ministry of Education.  Paisley only has a form 2 education, which is the American equivalent of a middle school education, yet he runs a secondary school that graduates students for college.  He calls himself a Pastor, yet has no recognized ordination from anyone other than Michael, and extremely limited Biblical knowledge.  I’ve heard him give a “sermon” and it consisted of him telling everyone at the church how much he loved, “Dad” and how much “Dad” had done for him.  There wasn’t a word about Jesus, the Gospel or anything of substance whatsoever!

Morning Assembly, which is so highly touted by Michael and Paisley during their fundraising tours of America as the Godly start to the day, consists of Paisley yelling at students, often so loudly and unintelligibly that when there are translators present for foreign missionaries, they must stop because they can’t understand him.  The only time a message of any substance is heard is when they have a traveling missionary speak to the students.  Paisley is apt to interrupt what he calls “worship” to yell at the students to “WORSHIP!”  at which point, students understand that they must raise their hands in some symbolic tribute to God, as if God has forgotten His own Word which says that we must worship Him in Spirit and in TRUTH.

Day scholars really have the best deal because they get to leave each evening and are not subject to the abuse that the boarding students live with.  The following is a testimony from a former staff member on the abuse at the hands of the Kalibu girls boarding Master, Mrs. Silibaziso Chibvongodze.  Imagine your little girl under the care of this monster:

“Mrs Chibvongodze is a Malawian born woman who left Malawi for Zimbabwe at a very young age and came to Malawi to seek greener pastures following the Hyperinflation that hit the Nation of Zimbabwe. It is not clear when she got her job at St.Patrick’s and was poached by Kalibu like they do with almost all of their Zimbabwean teachers, but she ended up getting a teaching job in Agriculture.  She became a part of the boarding team and soon the Girls boarding Master at Kalibu.

“While the boys enjoyed a wonderful time under the watchful eye of then boarding master, Mark Cronin, the girls had it rough with Mrs Chibvongidze. Her morning inspection routines were coupled with verbal abuse to students as well as unnecessary punishments for trivial matters such as not making your bed the way you were told to. I remember watching students standing outside the dining room while their friends had breakfast or supper; others were made to kneel down in the heat and sometimes in the cold and not permitted into the dining room for offences committed in the hostels. This sort of behavior seems simple at face value, until you begin to look at the psychological impact it created for girls like Chikondi Mlombwa, who was constantly picked on because of her background and previous encounters with Chibvongodze. Like many other girls, she was never given a second chance to reform and just be like all other students. Indeed students went for detention every Friday and received the famous “ice cream treatment,” which is when you got lashes.

“Chibvongodze had her favorites and these she made into spies so they could report on their fellow students. She picked on several girls she knew she could control and manipulate into doing whatever she wanted. The administration at Kalibu banned all cell phones at Kalibu and in no uncertain terms were students allowed to date (have boyfriends or girlfriends). Well we all know that if you tell a  group of young  men and ladies not to do something, they go ahead and do it because it is the nature of the youth to rebel. Because Boarding Superintendents and teachers received incentives (cash bonuses) for what Michael Howard and later Paisley Mavutula decided was a “job well done,” employees constantly fought to be teacher or employee of the season.

“Chibvongodze used students to spy on other students and reported the cases every Monday morning during the Headmaster’s famous briefing with the superintendents.  It was amazing how many people were alleged to have contraband or be in relationships that turned out not to be involved in anything of a sort. During these sessions students were pulled out of their classrooms and sent to the office where they were shouted at by Michael Howard and seldom did these meetings end without someone getting caned.

“Michael administered most of the punishment but occasionally he would let Chibvongodze herself do it, and she gladly put a smile on her face as she delivered each strike.  It is shocking to hear that this woman delivered this kind of punishment to other students when in 2013, it was discovered that her own daughter.. Faith… had a boyfriend of her own and that her mother knew about it. She even invited the boy over to her residence for tea and a talk over how to behave with her daughter.

“All students who have ever been to Kalibu will attest to the fact that sometimes students spent all day at the office. Sometimes prefects were pulled out of class to be present at these time wasting and pointless meetings.

“We went through all this trouble just so Silibaziso could keep being the “Good one” and could collect her cash bonus at the end of the month.

“Not only was she unpopular among students, but Chibvongodze was also unpopular in the staffroom. Rumor broke out that she had been to the Headmaster’s office and was bad mouthing Edington Ngonamo, the Sports Director, and the Best Kalibu has had to date. The Headmaster called Ngonamo in the office and asked Chibvongodze to explain what she had been gossiping about and she was put to shame. After this incident, she avoided the staff room at all costs as her unpopularity reached another level.

“So many girls were hurt by this woman’s methods of control and choice of words. I remember at a certain PTA meeting in Blantyre, a Pastor Zach Kawalala, who is a product of Michael Howard’s Ebenezer Bible school back in the day, raised his concerns on the misconduct and inconsiderate disciplinary measures adopted at the school and he was thoroughly dismissed. A gang of angry mothers in Blantyre once sent a message via students to Kalibu that they were going to beat up Mrs Chibvongodze for beating their children and continuing to pick on those she personally has grudges with.

“I remember there was an incident where Temwanani Shaba and Eunice Kazako were beaten so badly by Chibvongodze that their legs became swollen and had nasty black marks on them. The newspapers reported this in 20010, and I believe nothing was ever done to Chibvongodze.  She was never relieved of her duties as a boarding mistress or as a teacher. This is what happens when you have a leader who stands on the podium preaching the love of God and then turns around and tells students to “sort each other out” when someone does something wrong; a headmaster who says take them to the bush and give them a good hiding.

“Can you imagine what happens when an entire hostel of 35 boys takes a friend to Michiru Natural Sanctuary and whips their fellow student…imagine the physical and psychological trauma. Now if this was said to students in the assembly hall, how much was said to the teachers in the staffroom?  Chibvongodze is another product of the corrupt system, and there’s not way to know if she is acting out of her own whims to make people’s lives a misery or she is following orders from above.

“There are numerous students out there who were afflicted and bear scars that came in the aftermath of their interaction with this woman. It might not be physical scars, but I am sure that if you were to line up former Kalibu students and ask them to give a true testimony of the abuse they went through at the hands of Mrs Chibvongodze, you would tire of watching a flood of tears as broken hearts would begin to pour out their hurt, their pain, their disgust, their unbelief and most of all their disillusionment in a Christian institution that is supposed to stand for righteousness.

This is just one area of abuse, and just one testimony from one former staff member, but it really captures the spirit of Kalibu, and that is a spirit of control and abuse.   The teachers and students are taught to keep their heads down and follow the leader.  Any infraction is met with verbal or physical abuse or termination.  In a nation where jobs are scarce and Kalibu pays well, people are willing to forego their conscience for a decent paycheck.  Students dare not report anything to their parents or they are immediately called liars by the administration and they are abused by the staff even further for telling.

And yet, Michael Howard travels the world at donor’s expense and tells these wonderful stories about this idyllic Christian school, nestled at the foot of these mountains and people give and give and give.

This brings me to another subject: the finances.  It seems that no one ever asks for a financial statement or any sort of accountability for Kalibu Academy.  If they ever did, they would discover that they can’t even legally give to the school, because it is NOT A NONPROFIT institution.  Kalibu Academy is a for-profit corporation.

There is a ministry, entitled, “Kalibu Kwa Yesu,” but it has nothing to do with the school.  Again quoting from kalibuacademy.org, “Finances did not come from any one particular big donor but from small donations of individual Christians and well-wishers from all over the world. Work progressed and continues to progress in phases as and when donations flow in.”  How did people donate to a for-profit corporation? It would be like walking into Target or Wal-Mart and making a donation, yet Michael Howard is such a master liar and deceiver that no one ever asks.  Until now.  I did ask, and I did do the research on the status of these various “ministries” and corporations and what I found is an absolute mess.  None of them have the proper paperwork in place; none of them have a proper board of directors; none of them hold regular meetings; some of them aren’t even legally registered!

What I found is that Michael Howard uses all these various shell companies and ministries around the world to funnel all the money back to himself and spend it on whatever he wishes.  As he is fond of saying, “It is MY money!”

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Paisley gets his cut of every dollar that flows through the school, but I firmly believe, as we get farther into this investigation, that even Michael doesn’t have a clue how much money Paisley has embezzled from the school.

To put into perspective how much money Michael has stolen from donors who have given out of a heart to see the Lord’s work done, Shekinah Ministries, Inc., the US-based arm of Michael Howard’s cult, has collected more than a million dollars in cash and equipment over the past 5 years, all the while operating without even possessing a valid non-profit or being licensed to collect this money.  Where has this money gone?  Michael doesn’t even have an office in the United States.  It has all been funneled to Malawi, Finland, the UK and into Michael’s pockets and bank accounts.  Pastor Dutch VanderVlucht, of New Life Assembly of God has facilitated all of this illegal money transfer, much of which has been collected by Jim and Eileen Kirt, two more of Michael’s proteges, who live in Arizona.

(For more on this sham ministry, Shekinah, please visit the relevant pages on this site)

Is any of this corruption, sin and abuse the fruit of a Christian Academy?  As the Apostle Paul said, “God Forbid!”

Make no mistake: This is a business and it is whitewashed to look like a Christian school because by doing so, it can be more profitable for the owners.

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The only question that remains is: how long will this be allowed to continue?