Zim regulator bans prophets' adverts

HARARE - The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (Baz) has banned all the country’s radio and State television stations from carrying programmes that advertise propets and traditional healings.

The ban is part of concerted efforts by authorities to clamp down on the increasing incidence of charlatans who masquerade as powerful prophets and traditional healers.

Many church leaders who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday yesterday welcomed the ban saying this was needed to tackle the growing menace of fake miracle prophets — amid a disturbing surge in the number of hapless congregants, particularly women — who were being raped and conned by the self-styled prophets.

In a letter sent to all broadcasting media houses last week, which included the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) which announced its own ban last week, Baz chief executive officer Obert Muganyura said the clampdown programming involving prophets and the healers was with immediate effect.

“Please kindly be advised that the authority has observed with concern the use of broadcast stations as platforms for advertising faith and traditional healing powers, and the use of scientifically untested methods of treatment and healing by certain individuals and churches to the public, including the use of unverifiable testimonies,” Muganyura said in his letter.

“This observation by the authority is supported by numerous complaints by members of the public to the radio and television stations as revealed by the stations complaints registers and on social media.

“Needless to point out ... these broadcasts have impacted on the expected wider focus of the stations to inform, educate and entertain the public, and rather emerged as priority programming to the disappointment of viewers and listeners,” Muganyura  said.

Zimbabwe has 16 radio stations, with the government-controlled ZBC and Zimpapers dominating the broadcasting sector which has not yet been truly opened to private players without links to the ruling Zanu PF.

The broader church movement yesterday welcomed Baz’ decision to clamp down on the radio stations following what it said was an “unprecedented “surge in the number of prophets and traditional healers advertising on radio.

“Of course, our Constitution provides freedom of worship, but the regulatory authority retains the right to ensure people are not abused.

“The majority of these adverts (by self-styled prophets) were premised on false doctrines, riding on the back of people’s desperation, and our broadcasting authority had almost become blind to what should be broadcast and what needs to be controlled,” Bishop Ancelimo Magaya who leads Devine Destiny Network said.

“You also have, on one hand, some people profiteering from the poor using erroneous approaches that are unbiblical and then the cases of self-styled prophets involved in allegations of raping their congregants.

“On the other hand, these same prophets are given acres of space to manipulate the public, and government had to intervene lest we think  they were also benefiting,” Magaya added.

Recently, the head of the European Union (EU) delegation in Zimbabwe, Philippe Van Damme, told our sister paper the Daily News that he was “amazed” with the number of  alleged prophets in this country.

“In the Bible, in the Old Testament, you have quite some prophets, but never with the density as found in this country ... and my observations lead me to conclude that as you have fake news you have fake prophets driven by commercial interests,” Van Damme said.

Last week, the courts sentenced yet another self-styled prophet to 20 years in prison after he raped a woman  during a claimed healing session.

In the past few years, Zimbabwe has witnessed an unprecedented rise in the number of self-styled prophets, with some of them going on to amass huge “ill-gotten” wealth at the expense of their followers, while many others have been arraigned before the courts facing various charges ranging from rape to fake prophecies, fraud and even murder.

As a result, cynical Zimbabweans now derisively refer to the prophets as “profits”.

Comments (4)

Magona. Magaya and Makandiwa have been lying to us for too long.

Moe Syslack - 8 April 2018

Uchanzwa they will lie to their congregates saying it's an attack from the devil

Klucas Clan - 8 April 2018

magona . Imwe mbavha inozviti prophet baba matewo wekuBUDIRIRO 1 achitengesa macandles nedollar nemineral water achichaja vanhu ma200 dollars zvefake. GORORO chairo remakoko rinofanirwa kugara mujeri for life

Dodzo C - 9 April 2018

At least you have listen to the voices of the people. Let them have their own stations and those who want to listen to them will tune their stations.

Tonderai - 9 April 2018

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