THE Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association (Zinatha) has said Pentecostal churches, prophets and faith healers should register with the organisation and the Traditional Medical Practitioners Council (TMPC) to operate in the country.
TMPC is a department in the Ministry of Health and Child Care which supervises the control and practice of traditional medical practitioners.
Zinatha president Mr George Kandiero last week said prophets, Pentecostal church pastors and faith healers were traditional healers by definition and should thus be registered with relevant organisations. He said registration of traditional healers was important for the protection of citizens.
According to the Traditional Medical Practitioners Council Act of 1981 the practice of traditional medicine includes every act — the objective of which is to treat, identify, analyse, or diagnose, without the application of operative surgery, any illness of the body or mind by traditional methods.
“At law anyone who heals people using traditional methods is a traditional healer. Prophets who touch people’s heads while praying for and healing them, Pentecostal churches who practice the same and other such faith healers are all traditional healers.
In terms of the law it is illegal for such people to practice without a licence,” he said.
Mr Kandiero said for one to get the licence to practice as a traditional healer they should first register with Zinatha which is responsible for vetting of traditional medical practitioners.
“We have an ethics committee which is responsible for screening new members. The ethics committee is made up of herbalists, spiritual and faith healers who interview and vet prospective members before registering them.
“Vetting is done to protect the interests of members of the public out there. Majority of these unregistered healers are the ones who are swindling people of their money and goods under the guise of religion,” he said.
Mr Kandiero also explained some of the advantages that traditional healers.
Zinatha is on a nationwide outreach programme to reregister traditional healers and update its database which was last updated five years ago.
So far outreaches have been held in Harare, Bulawayo and Manicaland, with other provinces expected to be covered in the coming months.
United Family International Church (UFIC) leader Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa has in the past refused to register with the Zimbabwe Traditional Medical Council, arguing that he is neither a traditional medical practitioner nor a spirit medium.