Nip the scourge of bogus healers in the bud

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The absence of parliamentary legislation to regulate genuine traditional healers and faith healers has inadvertently spawned a proliferation of fake healers, phony herbalists, spiritualists and suspect traditional healers.

The high unemployment rate on the African continent seems to have contributed to the proliferation of dubious healers, as this problem is a continental malaise – because rarely do we hear of this sort of headache in highly industrialised countries, such as Japan, North America or Britain.

It is high time our parliamentarians hastened the promulgation of this important legislation to regulate this sector, because there are genuine traditional healers. After all African Traditional Medicine (ATM) has been an integral part of communities that rely on ATM to cure an array of ailments, especially in rural areas.

Legislating to regulate this profession would seal some of the loopholes that are being exploited by fake traditional healers, who are ripping off their unsuspecting clients and at the same time would protect genuine healers whose profession has been unfairly tainted by fraudsters, by rotten apples.

All those purporting to be genuine healers, herbalists, spiritualists and traditional healers should be registered with the local organisation representing African healers, shamans or whatever.

Earlier this week New Era broke a story on two charlatans and their lackey who were arrested in Windhoek and now face 37 charges of having defrauded their clients of tens of thousands of dollars.

These shameless charlatans seem to have taken the art of trickery to another level, as they fool the gullible with promises that they have a panacea that can cure all manner of malady.

Fliers being distributed at busy street intersections in the central business district of Windhoek usually make outrageous claims that these rip-off artists – usually undocumented migrants from other African countries – could bring back lost lovers and can assist litigants to win pending court cases.

The naïve and gullible are also often promised their broken marriages and relationships can be restored and they also get assurances their business misfortunes could be turned around on the premise it is “an African problem that needs an African solution.” Typically, promises to get rid of bad luck are also made.

Consultations involving these quacks and their clients are by and large cloak-and-dagger. It usually takes place in a dark room and is hush-hush, because both parties do not want to be known in the matter.

Ironically, only once the client has been taken to the cleaners do we hear loud cries of foul play. Even then those who bank accounts were cleaned out more often than not speak under the veil of anonymity to avoid ridicule from their peers.

That said, we must reiterate that our lawmakers should hasten the promulgation of this much-needed piece of legislation to ensure this sector is properly regulated, otherwise these chancers will continue to occupy this space.

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