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Hopewell Chin’ono: Pentecostal tricks and abuse need national leadership to do its job as happened in Rwanda

By Hopewell Chin’ono

The United States of America sent men to the moon in 1969, FIFTY years ago.

Hopewell Chin'ono
Hopewell Chin’ono

Meanwhile today in Africa, we still believe that Coca Cola, Fanta and Cooking Oil can wash away “bad luck” and “demons” and we actually have University graduates believing in that!

These University graduates are our only hope to taking the first Zimbabwean or African not just to the moon, but also to turning around the continent’s economic fortunes, and yet they believe that Coca Cola and Cooking Oil will cleanse them of “demons” and bring economic prosperity to their lives!

It reflects something tragically wrong with our education system that has failed to bring out critical thinkers, and it also shows that there is something wrong with our governance and politics, something that fails to protect the citizen from such spectacular and yet embarrassing idiocy.

As commonly said, cataracts are the third biggest cause of blindness in Africa, Religion and Politics are first and second respectively.

It takes an intellectually and thoughtless blind person to believe in the illogical promises that we are witnessing in some of our Pentecostal churches.

The comic behavior that we see daily through crooks and sly con artist/thieves like Walter Magaya can easily be intellectually explained; it is a total breakdown of the State’s common sense router.

Why is this illogical way of spirituality happening you might ask as any normal and sane person should be doing?

It is deliberate and not accidental that the incidences of such stupidity in these Pentecostal churches have gone up.

The idea that you can simply get something that you haven’t worked for through a miracle is not much different from those that actually take from us without care through corruption.

There is a very thin line between a corrupt mind and one that believes in miracle riches and wealth that one doesn’t sweat for, at least Slay Queens work for their dough one once said to me when explaining the miracle church money nonsense.

Politicians have realized that poverty creates vacuous Thought idiots and fools out of vulnerable citizens who are driven by desperation and the power and attractiveness of of a miracle financial breakthrough!

So after screwing you up economically, the politician has allowed charlatans like Magaya to dangle hope for quick fixes and in that regard, keeping the masses under the spell of the idiocy of miracles, and away from starting to employ pragmatic means to meaningfully resolve their economic problems and miseries.

Remember the sly older brother at the village that always told fake tales over dinner, this is a familiar story to the Magayas of this world.

The spell bound young boys were listening to their brother’s cock and bull stories whilst he was stealing meat from the shared plate through pressing on the meat with sadza in his hand and eating it whilst the unsuspecting young ones waited for his tale’s punch line that was always reserved for the next day.

Suddenly there would be a miracle disappearance of meat from the shared plate, he would explain it with more never ending incredulous tales.

That is Magaya and his ilk for you, he has been conning unsuspecting and at times vulnerable and extremely desperate congregants, some he would even sleep with them and pay them off if they tried to talk.

There is a lawyer in Harare with a huge file of such stories on Magaya alone, people like him are allowed to do so by an extremely incompetent, corrupt and compromised State.

In those Pentecostal churches we are seeing politicians, ambassadors, lawyers, doctors, judges and magistrates, they give moral and intellectual legitimacy to this con artistry business run by people like Walter Magaya.

It is a foolish but lucrative enterprise for them and yet officially validated such that a whole Central Bank Governor, Gideon Gono, once convened a meeting to talk to these crooks about miracle money that is dispensed through cash machines, that is how damaged we have become as a people.

The fact that there are human beings that still believe in this craziness aptly defines today’s Zimbabwe, a nation of hopeless believers one is tempted to say but correctly so.

Of course not every Zimbabwean is this foolish, but the fact that the State has allowed this to go on unhindered is an indictment on us as a nation, a tragic failure to keep a country in the realm of common sense.

There is a direct link between politics and these Pentecostal tricksters, Walter Magaya lived in a house once owned by former Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo, he drove cars that he bought from Chombo and got protection from Chombo when he was still a powerful ZANU PF politician.

These people are protected by powerful politicians who they pay ransom fees to stay untouchable, they both screw us using different methods.

They commit horrible crimes using the power that they have over vulnerable and unsuspecting victims who are in awe of their illogical tales and unfulfilled promises.

They are extremely dangerous too to the citizen, many citizens have died at the hand of these criminals after being told to discontinue their medication for HIV and Aids or mental illness.

I have seen mental health patients relapse after being “spiritually” ordered to stop taking their prescribed medication, and in my latest documentary film State of Mind there is a family that talks about paying US$300 a day to consult Walter Magaya.

Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Obadiah Moyo (centre) and his Deputy Dr John Mangwiro (left) listen as PHD Ministries founder Prophet Walter Magaya (right) addresses a Press conference in Harare
Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Obadiah Moyo (centre) and his Deputy Dr John Mangwiro (left) listen as PHD Ministries founder Prophet Walter Magaya (right) addresses a Press conference in Harare in November 2018

In any normal society Walter Magaya and his cohorts would have been in a jail, however he gets to address press conferences with government ministers regardless of his criminal enterprises.

What more political endorsement does one need to see other than that?

He wanted to dangerously sell fake HIV and Aids anti-retroviral medication, something that would have killed thousands of his gullible followers, and yet nothing happened to him.

Now he is back with “anointed” cooking oil in a very badly acted video skit, of course he has a gullible following that will defy logic and believe in that stupidity.

Walter Magaya: ‘Anointed Cooking Oil’

Social commentator Alex Magaisa explained it well when he said, “…two areas in which con artistry is par for the course are politics and religion, in both cases the confidence tricksters have the advantage of a determined contingent of defenders ready to get angry on their behalf, but such levels of gullibility aren’t amenable to progress.

How do we progress when we have become a nation and continent of anointed Coca Cola, Fanta and Cooking Oil?

Any wonder anymore why Donald trump calls Africa a Shit Hole, it is indeed because its leadership has failed to protect its citizens from such tragic and criminal behavior done in the name of the Church!

One shining example though of a leader who has put an end to this crazy stuff is President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, a true example of decent leadership on the continent where there is non in this regard.

We are currently a ShitHole until we stop this madness.

If you ever doubted whether what Donald Trump derogatorily called ShitHole was true or not, these videos are your answer.

The fact that the State allows this to happen is a seal of approval to Trump’s definition of our countries, painful but true until real leadership emerges to put and end to this as happened in Rwanda.

Brain washed and like the proverbial fool, ready to outrageously defend the perpetrator of the crime, Magaya’s followers will illogical explain this charlatanry.

In one of the videos, the guy probably has a shop at his church, he also probably asks them to buy anointed Coca Cola or Fanta from his church, and he drenches them with two bottles of those drinks.

Video by ShowBiz Cloud

He probably will ask them to buy anointed soap from his shop, he washes them with it, and he probably uses anointed water bought from his shop to wash them too of the Coca Cola now sticky on their bodies.

They then give him a tithe and go home hoping for a miracle along the way, one that never comes and they keep repeating the comic process and like the village older brother, Magaya will keep offering illogical explanations as to why the miracle is taking long to happen.

Now if you ever looked for the definition of STUPIDITY, this is it!

I wouldn’t be surprised if these preachers end up in laundry and dry cleaning businesses providing anointed services to clean the Coca Cola and Fanta stains on their victims clothes.

Oh Africa, devoid of real leadership and continuously moving backwards and being mocked by even clowns like Donald Trump.

Just as our political leadership including Vice President Kembo Mohadi believed that diesel could come out of a rock in Chinhoyi, our Pentecostal compatriots who go to the likes of Walter Magaya’s con-artist churches will carry on being conned until someday when common sense returns to their minds or the government of the day finally stops this madness!

That might not be in our lifetime but one day it will happen, but how many lives would have been lost to their con tricks and how many families would have been ruined?

Hopewell Chin’ono is an award winning Zimbabwean international Journalist and Documentary Filmmaker. He is a Harvard University Nieman Fellow and a CNN African Journalist of the year.

He is also a Fellow at the University of Oxford’s Africa Leadership Institute.

Hopewell has a new documentary film looking at mental illness in Zimbabwe called State of Mind, which was launched to critical acclaim.

The recently departed music superstar Oliver Mtukudzi wrote the sound track for State of Mind.

It was recently nominated for a big award at the Festival International du Film Pan-Africain de Cannes in France and in the UK at the Heart of England International Film Festival.

You can watch the documentary trailer below.