By Gideon Madzikatidze
The Traditional Medicines Practices Council (TMPC) chairman, Mr Friday Chisanyu has appealed to and urged African governments to promote and preserve universal utilisation of African Traditional Knowledge Systems for absolute realisation of development in vast cultures that the continent is endowed with.
In commemorating Africa Day, TMPC urged traditional and faith healers operating in Zimbabwe to register with the government’s established regulatory arm under the ministry of health.
Speaking prior to the combined Africa day commemorations and TMPC registration verification and awareness campaign organised by the Zimbabwe National Practitioners Association (ZINPA) to which Sekuru Friday Chisanyu assumes presidency, the organisation’s boss boasted that Africa has remarkably preserved, promoted and tolerated culturural diversity and beliefs as enshrined in their respective constitutions premised on their uptake and consumption of traditional herbs, beliefs, culture and moral values.
“As Africans, we are proud to exhibit and accommodate various cultures. The continent has potential to transforms several lives through cross breeding of ideas on the extraction, utilisation and distribution of indigenous knowledge systems which need no academic qualifications at times, but rather through generational transfers in a sustainable manner.
“Values of African Traditional Religion (ATR) have been constantly widespread throughout the continent and as citizens of this continent, we should also tolerate the existence of other cultures consumed within our motherland. It is impossible for Africans to be divorced from their respective cultures since separation will be tantamount to impeding the development of Africa and her endowment with cross cultural aspects.
“Variation in religion and culture creates collaborative links throughout. It is imperative to note that diversification of culture will be a good platform for research on preservation, promotion and distribution of our templates to foreign lands and this can also be used for education, information sharing and entertainment across all sections of society.”
Chisanyu said during exhibitions or extractions of African traditional religion’s cultural and moral values and beliefs, there are rules, regulations and laws that African governments have passed on in order to regulate their usage, extinctions and exploitations.
African culture is showcased on the global arena and used as tourism to generate much needed foreign currency.
African marriages also depend upon knowledge sharing. Knowledge is drawn from elders to reduce divorce cases.
The cultural guru urged African Heads of states to constantly establish resource centres for knowledge sharing and research amongst Africans.
Archbishop Cuthbert Nyaruvenda of Sangano Dzvene Revapositori also concurred that there was need for churches to be registered under the TMPC since this provides for an opportunity for the government to audit the operations of all churches.
He called for punishment of culprits who use unGodly practices that harm or infringe upon the rights of women, children and other disadvantaged members of the society.
Bishop Nyaruvenda said, “It is high time that the government should consider registration of churches as a serious issue since most of the crime committed by these mushrooming unregistered churches has a lot of questions than answers amongst Zimbabwean citizens. Almost seventy percent of crimes are committed at shrines or in church. No wonder our judiciary has piles of cases against self-styled traditional healers and church leaders who manipulate, abuse and dupe congregants of their hard earned money.
“There need for self-introspection among churches so that they operate in accordance to the laws of the land and make sure that the African traditional religion and cultural values are not tempered with. Christians should not abuse freedom of worship. We appeal to indigenous churches in Zimbabwe to register with the TMPC to avoid conflicting with the act established under the Health Ministry,” Nyaruvenda said.
Joyce Guhwa, a representative from the Ministry of Health and Childcare who also doubles as the Traditional Medical Practitioners Council’s Registrar graced the workshop in Chitungwiza. course of executing their self-styled assignments.
Guhwa said, “Several women, children and patients have fallen victims to self-styled prophets and traditional healers who in most cases have become materialistic rather than curing congregants and patients of their various ailments.
“There is freedom of worship in the constitution of the motherland. However, the freedom should not violate or trample upon people’s rights and freedoms. All unregistered traditional practitioners and prophets should liaise with the TMPC and come forward to register so that their operations are licensed under the ministry’s act,” Guhwa said.