By John Chimunhu|
Now Daily News Analysis|
Ever since Walter Magaya set up his Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries at a creche in Unit L, Chitungwiza, thousands of sick people have flocked to him hoping for ‘healing miracles’.
In a country reeling from chronic health problems – with 15 percent of the 12 million population infected with HIV/AIDS – and a dysfunctional, corruption-riddled public health system, this is to be expected. Coupled with 96 percent unemployment, mass poverty and desperation, it is not hard to see why people follow this man, who calls himself a prophet and claims to be capable of solving all problems.
But the fact that people are gullible is no reason to exploit them. Magaya has clearly capitalized on this. He tells his followers that if they want healing they must book into his lodge for three days, paying five star hotel rates for the ‘priviledge’.
Faith healing is an accepted craft in many Christian societies around the world. The belief in miracles is strong both in traditional churches like Roman Catholic and emerging charismatics and pentecostals. Even the Vapositori sects make their own dubious claims to miracle power.
However, in litigious societies such as the United States, famed faith healers like Billy Graham and Benny Hinn take one extra precaution, which people like Magaya must be compelled to take. The American ‘healers’ move around with medical teams ‘certifying’ every ‘miracle’. That means sick people are examined before joining the prayer line and are tested thereafter, if they claim to have been healed. The authorities here might do well to impose similar regulations, where people like Magaya are accused of ‘killing’ people by telling them that cooking oil dubbed ‘annointing oil’ can cure them more effectively than medical drugs. Naturally, if a sick person is told that they have been healed they will stop taking medication as a sign of ‘faith’. Many people being told that they have been healed are dying prematurely after abandoning their medication. Magaya must be probed over this and other claims.
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