His “god” answers him each time a problem presents itself and he speaks with so much authority spiced with intimidation, the afflicted never get the guts to say no to some off the mark predictions and or visions, premonitions to destruction by evil forces.
Rarely do the prophets tell their patients that there is nothing wrong or be bearers of glad tidings, it’s almost always doom and gloom.
That is how many a bogus prophet with evil intent have ensnared desperate women and raped them in the process.
The media is awash with stories of women who are being raped at bogus prophets’ shrines.
But what leads women to these shrines?
First I feel compelled to blame our patriarchal society.
If, for example, there are no children or if children are late in a marriage set up the blame almost always lies squarely with the woman. If a child is disabled in any way, again the blame lies squarely with the woman.
If a marriage is facing collapse, even if the husband is not committed, people around would want to know how and where the woman is losing the plot.
Burdened by a foisted guilty conscience and out of fear of rejection and condemnation, many women are driven to visit these shrines clandestinely to seek divine intervention.
Once there, they fall into the clutches of the said prophets. Sometimes people visit shrines out of curiosity, ignorance, naivety or pure foolishness.
Can society be sensitive to the plight of women?
Zimbabweans are also socialised to believe in witchcraft. They believe in bad fortune and are therefore almost always casting a suspicious eye on the neighbour or relative, in case they are casting aspersions because of jealousy or pure hatred. The bogus prophets have also bagged this belief in witchcraft to make it one of their main weapons when potential prey strays into their nets.
When the faithful leave the shrines they have an assortment of things that are all referred to as prayer. Blessed water is prayer (munamato/umthandazo), a pebble is prayer, a blessed handkerchief is prayer, various oils from cooking oil to hair oil are prayers and even some concoctions of mixed lemon, cooking oil, honey and sometimes with a dash of wash powder to cleanse tummies and clogged lungs is prayer.
But what is prayer? The simplest definition I could get says; “Prayer is our direct line with heaven. Prayer is a communication process that allows us to talk to God! He wants us to communicate with Him, like a person-to-person phone call.” (allabout prayer.com)
So, if I move around with a pebble in my handbag, am I covered when it comes to my daily communication with God? Who is doing the talking on my behalf?
How does a silent pebble intercede for me before God? Don’t the scriptures say “only Christ can stand before the Lord for me?” I believe only God knows when and how he answers questions and requests from his children, so why must the prophet give a timeline as if he is the one who is deciding my fate?