All traditional healers, prophets, faith healers and spirit mediums in Zimbabwe claiming to have healing powers should register with the Zimbabwe Traditional Medical Practitioners’ Association. All those in breach of the law face a maximum two-year jail sentence.

Among such are Prophets Emmanuel Makandiwa and Uebert Angel who face arrest for operating outside the Traditional Medical Practitioners Council Act

Church representatives recently said it was impossible to classify prophets in the same bracket with traditional leaders. However, a Harare-based lawyer Tonderai Bhatasara of Mupanga Bhatasara Attorneys said it was possible for the government to prosecute the unregistered prophets.

ZTMPA president Friday Chisanyu said his organization had since engaged the Zimbabwe Republic Police to arrest all unregistered prophets.“We have.. engaged the police to arrest all prophets including Makandiwa and Angel who are operating but have not registered, as stipulated by the Traditional Medical Practitioners Council Act,” he said.

“It has come to our attention that some unscrupulous prophets and traditional healers were engaging in criminal activities around the country that have left trails of disaster such as broken families, loss of herds of livestock and even deaths,” Chisanyu added. 

He appealed to the public to help the police and TMPA to ensure that they deal with registered and licensed prophets or traditional practitioners.

There are about 500 registered prophets and traditional healers in Zimbabwe, while the rest are operating illegally. However, church leaders were dismissive about the situation. Prophet Angel is reportedly in the United Kingdom but a pastor in the Spirit Embassy International dismissed the reports. “We are not registered because we cannot be classified in the same bracket as n’angas,” he said.

Makandiwa’s church Pastor Chikuni could neither confirm nor deny whether their leader was registered with the association. “I cannot comment, you need to talk to Pastor Kufa . . . he is the only spokesperson for the ministry,” he said. Pastor Prime Kufa’s phone went unanswered before the article was published.

Lawyer Bhatasara said, “There are so many levels at which you can consider it. The first one is that the definition of practice of traditional medical practitioners. If you look at Section (2) of the Traditional Medical Practitioners Council Act .. the object of which is to treat, identify, analyse, diagnose without the application of operative surgery any ailment of body or mind by traditional methods; it appears that these prophets fit into this definition.”

He said prophets do not use operative surgery and what only differed were the “traditional” methods. “The biggest question is whether the use of water, stones or sticks that they use are traditional methods. The only difference is that a spirit medium, n’anga or traditional healer probably uses the belief of ancestors and so on. But prophets lead to God as well, they go through Jesus in Christianity (and so on). But in terms of practising, they use the same methods of analysing and diagnosing.” 

Bhatasara said the only exception is where you use operative equipment like doctors who are covered under the Health Council Act. “I think these people can be charged. But probably if they have a smart lawyer their methods are not traditional methods,” he said.