By Vasco Chaya
While Zimbabweans have hailed the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (Baz) for banning advertising of mushrooming church “prophets”, those practising this trade feel betrayed.
In a letter sent to all broadcasting media houses recently, Baz chief executive officer Obert Muganyura said the ban of programming for prophets, faith and traditional 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.
The practise was mainly being done across the 16 radio stations in the country with Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) responding by announcing this ban on all its platforms.
The prophets and traditional healers’ programmes had over the years dominated all radio programming amid calls by the listeners that it was poisoning the nation with fake miracles, some which bordered on fiction.
Some of the prophets have been in the news accused of rape while others have been before the courts for defrauding church members through seeding.
But the prophets have hit back alleging that this is a clear sign that the media is in the hands of the devil.
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.
Kwekwe-based prophet Effort Maposa of Grace Abound Church told the Daily News on Sunday that the ban is a clear sign that the media is in the hands of the devil.
“It has happened in Nigeria but we are glad that eventually the power of God will prevail against all odds. It is a clear sign that the media being one of the most powerful tools of mass communication is being targeted by the devil,” said Maposa who claims popular Nigerian televangelist Temitope Balogun Joshua, popularly known as TB Joshua is his spiritual father.
Controversial prophet Bright Chikomo of Bright Light International Ministries had this to say: “I strongly condemn the ban. It was imposed just because of few people who believe they have the monopoly in a Christian nation.
“In the Christian circles we have a problem of politicians and non-Christians who dictate what churches should be like yet we already have the Holy Spirit that can teach us all things,” said Chikomo.
“I smell the coming back of former minister Lazarus Dokora’s policies which were viewed as anti-Christ. We believe the future of Zimbabwe lies in freedom of worship and munhu wenyama haanga tonge zvinhu zvemweya achiti ndezve nhema….
“Christians shall not be persecuted, we hope the ban will not cost trust to those who impose it…for this nation to be peaceful as it is now, it is because of Christian values and norms,” Chikomo said.
Prophet Miracle Paul of New Revelations Ministries, famed for his Abraham’s Tent told this publication through his spokesperson Abel Mutambirwa that the authority has crushed the freedom of worship.
“We have the right to broadcast our messages just like other organisations are doing. We do not manufacture testimonies but testimonies come from those helped by Lord God through his servants, men of God.
“We are still to understand their agenda in effecting this ban. We suspect a hidden hand in all this.
“However, we hope Baz will review this ban in the near future,” said Mutambirwa.
However, Apostle Tendai Kapondoro of Sheepgate Church that hosted Cameroonian preacher John Chi in the country said to a large extent the ban was right.
“The ban comes at a time when most of the prophets were abusing media through the name of preaching.
“The true gospel of repentance was no longer being preached but prophets were concentrating on the prosperity gospel.
“Some of our brothers and sisters have been taking advantage of the desperation of their followers to do unethical dealings.
“However, I still feel the gospel should be preached to all corners of the country or world at large whether with the help of radios, televisions or without,” Kapondoro said. Daily News