Lovemore Zigara Midlands Correspondent
The Ministry of Health and Child Care and apostolic churches are at loggerheads over the decision by the ministry to have faith healers registered with the Traditional Medical Practitioners Council (TMPC).
The ministry set up TMPC whose mandate is to “regulate and control authority aimed at safer and efficacious traditional medical practices through registering, licensing all traditional medical activities in Zimbabwe.”
The tiff between Government and apostolic churches came after Health and Child Care deputy minister Dr Aldrin Musiiwa threatened to ban prophets, pastors, traditionalists and faith healers from working without a practising certificate from the council.
Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ), an umbrella body of apostolic and zionist churches, argue that the Traditional Medical Health Practitioners Act does not speak to issues of faith, but those that have to do with traditional medicine.
ACCZ president Archbishop Johannes Ndanga said his members would not register with the council, as they are not traditional healers. “There is a great difference between faith healers and traditional healers and those who are ignorant of this fact should not coerce churches to register,” he said.
“The Traditional Medical Practitioners Act Chapter 27.14 does not speak to the church, but to traditional medicine. “It does not speak to issues of faith, but traditional medicine. Therefore, apostolic and Zionist faith healers cannot register with the TMPC because they are not traditional healers, but they are faith healers.”
TMPC chairman Mr Friday Chisanyu was adamant that faith healers should register with the body. He said people involved in healing for which they did not have professional qualifications should register with his organisation, including faith healers.
“We regulate all healers, whether traditional or faith healers, as per our definition of the Traditional Medical Practitioners Council Act,” Mr Chisanyu. “It is only that the definition of terms is being misinterpreted, but it covers all those who are into healing, but do not have qualifications for such practices.”
Mr Chisanyu said there was need to regulate faith and traditional healing practices, so as not to put people who consult such them at risk.
“If the practice is not regulated and monitored, we are putting risk to our people and if those are registered it means they operate under certain guidelines which governs them,” he said.
“Issues to do with doing good and shunning evil can only be advocated by those who are registered and licenced.”