IN YEARS gone by West Africa was known for its prowess in football but the tide seems to have shifted. Today, West Africa has claimed a spot as the hub for a brand of religion which has taken southern Africa by storm. This brand of religion comes in different forms but with the same modus operandi to those who can discern.

It is West Africa which pioneered the concept of ‘prophets’ in Zimbabwe where, virtually, every church leader is now a ‘prophet’ working ‘miracles’. Recently, Harare has been hit by a new craze of the West African influence: the country has been flooded by self-proclaimed healers and herbalists that are promising to bring wealth to people using what has become known as ‘short boys’. The healers’ accents and unfamiliarity with local languages connotes that most are foreigners, particularly from West Africa as investigations would reveal.

In view of the harsh economic climate, it would appear that anything which promises to ameliorate the suffering is sooner embraced than scrutinized. The prevailing economic decline has vindicated claims of a positive relationship between economic deterioration and wickedness. The foreign healers’ have been readily embraced and their aggressive marketing seen through the distribution of hordes of flyers and on-tree posters has gripped the attention of many. Nearly every tree in Harare’s business central business district has these posters with all sorts of luring promises.

Similarly, at a very recent religious gathering, a wealthy woman shocked all and sundry when she recounted the horrific life she has been living over the last few years. It was shockingly unbelievable that one would so openly reveal intimate details about their life. The woman recounted the hellish life she has lived for close to six years now. In the quest for wealth, she recounted how her trips to South Africa resulted in her purchasing a money-making ‘short boy’ from an Indian national whom she supplied with fabric.

Long story short, the money-making boy won’t allow her to sleep during the nights, instead it has to be driven throughout the night as a way of appeasement. According to her, she owns mega businesses and even then had a sleek vehicle. Her story is not unique in recent times with the advent of the West African ‘doctors.’

Way back in time, the prospect of owning a goblin was simply unthinkable and represented the height of wickedness that could grip the human soul. It was frowned upon as the doing of evil men. Goblins, by nature, do not come for free; they may be affordable yet there will definitely be sacrifices and ransoms.

One of the ‘doctors’ from the Avenues area, a Ghanaian, said the ‘short boys’ cost $300 while Sandawana oil costs $250. While many unemployed people have opted for vending, running battles with municipal police in Harare’s central business district, some are turning to these ‘fortune doctors.’ The oil is said to bring luck in winning lottery, promotion and lost lovers among other enticing things. “It is different from a ‘tokoloshe’ and your relatives or children will not die, it will just bring money,” said one Dr Igweibuke, a Nigerian.

The healers and herbalists who refer to themselves as ‘doctors’ are now increasingly advertising in newspapers and on tree posters giving ‘hope’ that they can turn a person’s fortunes and bring luck in businesses and turnaround people’s lives. The ‘doctors’ do not only have these ‘short boys’ but also chitaka wallets which gets people money from nowhere.

Remember miracle money? Chitaka wallet is simply another version of this practice evident in churches today. That these practices from these ‘doctors’ and ‘prophets’ are virtually the same and engineered by people from the same land should set discerning people thinking. The claims on the doctors’ flyers and the claims on miracle churches with West African linked ministries are basically two sides of the same coin.

The ‘tokoloshe’ practices were alien to locals yet, today, the prospect of wealth through that route has become a reality. Although they will try and cast these wicked practices in a positive light, the truth is that these are underworld activities.

Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association (Zinatha) director George Kandiero described the practice as witchcraft. He said those doctors advertising the ‘short boys’ were foreigners and not Zimbabweans. “Those people are not from Zimbabwe, most of them are from West Africa where they get those things,” said Kandiyero.

Now, nothing can be further from the truth, these are wicked schemes of the Evil One. Wealth in whatever form is not got without pain. Anything that promises to enrich without you lifting a finger cannot possibly be from God. Wealth without work is the devil’s principle. God’s principle is for man to “eat from the brow of his sweat”.

These evil practices further throw a dark shadow on the new crop of prophets with similar sweet promises and spiritual fathers from West Africa encouraging the principle of wealth without work through antics like miracle money and promises of doubling salaries and organ enlargement. It can only be the work of the devil. As long as earth remains, seed, time and harvest will always endure.

Man has to work for his livelihood and that is how it was meant to be. Evil thrives when good men do not expose it. Let’s be wary of the satanic influence for God does not contradict his principles.