It is time for government to act on fake pastors

Milly Nassolo  

What you need to know:

‘‘ Government must put in place a regulatory framework on how the freedom of worship should be exercised”

There is a disturbing video that has been shared on various social media and micro-blogging platforms showing a local self-proclaimed prophet purportedly treating a follower reportedly suffering from kidney failure.
In the video, a woman who seem to be a staunch believer of the prophet’s antics is seen urinating on herself as the pastor proclaims healing in middle of a congregation that approves whatever takes place.
In a sense of mockery, a medical professional, Dr Jacob Otile took to his Twitter handle, shared a video and captioned “Drs in case you have a patient with AKI/CKD (Kidney failure) no need for resuscitation, dialysis or Nephrology review just refer to “Man Of god” the urine will come”.

The same prophet was recently filmed slapping a   fat man’s belly while assuring him that with his prayers he will soon cut weight.
With the results of the prophet’s theatrics known to himself and the followers, it is unfair that many people in Uganda continue to be victims of selfish religious merchants as government watches on.
Such theatrics can easily plunge our struggling health care system into a crisis. Patients can chose to opt for prophets, putting their safety at stake especially at a time when patients safety in Uganda is still a grey area.

In a similar manner,  some pastors have been accused of defrauding foreign nationals who visit the country.
Such acts threatens Uganda’s Tourism sector that contributes 2.5 Per cent to the country’s GDP given the bad publicity created at a time when many countries compete to tap into tourism.
Incidents like that can have a long-term negative impact on Uganda as a destination hence affecting the number of visitors especially from the victims’ country of origin.

It is nolonger a secret that worship centres are exploiting people who are blinded by the belief in a supernatural being while manipulating them with blind obedience that makes them vulnerable to exploitation.
In the New Testament, Jesus taught about false prophets in His Sermon on the Mount: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognise them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit” (Matthew 7:15–18).

Much as we should not underscore the fact that some pastors are doing things the right way, phoney preachers are worryingly misdirecting our society and their actions have left dire consequences on both people and the country.
Many worshippers across the country have lost large sums of money, lives, properties and others subjected to violence in some churches but government is failing to protect churchgoers against manipulation.
Sadly, as citizens continue to plead for government to act, many unscrupulous men of God are politically connected persons and more often protected by men in army and police uniforms.
Moving forward, Government should consider enforcing a stringent guideline for pastors and also set standards that guide pastors to control exploitation. 
Government must put in place a regulatory framework on how the freedom of worship should be exercised. 

Milly Nassolo is as Lawyer,Human Rights Activist. Women and Children Advocate. @Milly_nassolo

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