Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa yesterday warned false prophets to desist from ordering HIV-positive people and those suffering from other ailments like diabetes to stop taking drugs, saying it was dangerous.
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Parirenyatwa said this in Senate while urging Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi to come up with legal instruments to curb the practice as it could result in many deaths.
“It is a very bad practice that prophets and churches are saying they can cure people with holy water or oil,” Parirenyatwa said.
“We know that the HIV virus cannot be removed through prayer and that it needs medicines. Even medicines do not cure HIV, but they only suppress the multiplication of the virus. That is why one needs to take ARVs for life.”
He said it was high time Mohadi criminalised the antics by false prophets.
“It is good to pray when a person is sick, but prayer needs to be complemented by medicines, otherwise if people are told to stop taking medicines we might experience many deaths,” Parirenyatwa said.
Popular preachers Walter Magaya, leader of Prophetic Healing Deliverance Ministries, Emmanuel Makandiwa (United Family International Church), TB Joshua of Synagogue Church of All Nations and other Pentecostal churches were some of the organisations known for dishing out holy oil to their followers to allegedly cure various ailments.
Many apostolic organisations in the country were also known to distribute “holy water” (muteuro) to their followers which were said to cure many ailments including HIV and Aids.
These organisations have become popular in the general populace with scores of Zimbabweans even travelling to Nigeria for healing sessions.
Meanwhile, Home Affairs deputy minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said police would strengthen their patrols at bars to ensure they deal with under-age youths who were in the habit of drinking.
Ziyambi was responding to a question by Manicaland Senator Judith Mawire (Zanu PF), saying many youths under the age of 18 were breaking the law by accessing beer at pubs.
“Parents should assist the police by monitoring their children to ensure they desist from drinking,” Ziyambi said.
Deputy Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Win Mlambo also said his ministry would soon announce an information communication technology (ICT) policy to prevent crime using mobile phones and other ICT gadgets.
He was responding to a question by Mashonaland Central Senator Damian Mumvuri (Zanu PF) who wanted to know the measures government was taking to protect mobile phone users from messages which purported people had won prizes.
“Those messages force people to engage in a lot of conversation using phones and they need to be investigated,” Mumvuri said.