“Destroy the old man of Loliondo!”

“This is the end of days. You must choose a righteous church to lead you and not allows yourself to be blown around like a scrap of paper. Trample on the old man of Loliondo! Destroy the old man of Loliondo! Crush his works!”

Words from Dar’s leading preacher, Bishop Kakobe of the Full Gospel Bible Fellowship, as reported in yesterday’s Mwananchi newspaper. The Old Man of Loliondo is retired Lutheran pastor Ambilikile Mwasapile. He claims to have been told by god in a dream of his special brew which with one dose will cure AIDS, diabetes, asthma, and whatever you’re having yourself. The price of the dose too is divinely fixed – at 500 shillings (c. 25 euro cents).

On Mwananchi’s website, the story was filed under “Habari za Siasa” – Political News.  If politics involves trying to attract scarce resources to your place, then politics it is. The crush of the sick and the desperate has led to calls for improved roads, parking areas, accommodation and eateries.This has worked before – not in Tanzania, but in Ireland. An energetic priest and faithful hordes managed to convince Charles Haughey‘s cash strapped 1980s government to stump up £10 million for an airport serving the Marian Shrine at Knock – where Mary was believed to have appeared the century before last and where miracles are still believed to occur. Surely Loliondo people will be making a pitch to TASAF soon, if only for a new bus stand.

Or maybe it should have been in the Business News section? Kakobe’s reaction was not atypical of a powerful player in a crowded market when faced by a quick witted upstart. And the reported impact on taxi and bus fares in the area – more than doubling – would have justified such a classification too.

And neither is the connection between politicians with colourful pasts and the supernatural limited to Ireland. In a timely intervention yesterday, speaking at the launch of a fundraiser for orphans , former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa placed himself in the front line against witchcraft. As reported in Mwananchi (and not in response to the old man of Loliondo):

Lowassa, who is also the CCM MP for Monduli, called on religious leaders to spread the word of the lord in order that people may change and follow the lord and abandon witchcraft.

He said that this is a great challenge for religions leaders and reiterated that he too is ready to participate wholeheartedly in efforts to change Tanzanians.

Working out the boundaries between ‘religion’, ‘witchcraft’ and traditional healing is never easy. And it gets more complicated when politics and religion business are introduced – for news editors as well as everybody else. It may make daily life problematic for the sceptical, but the Loliondo case vividly reminds us of the centrality of spirituality and the supernatural to most aspects of Tanzanian life.


28 responses to ““Destroy the old man of Loliondo!”

  1. Great post, thanks.

    “the Loliondo case vividly reminds us of the centrality of spirituality and the supernatural to most aspects of Tanzanian life.”

    Very true, but no less depressing for it.

    I don’t want to self-plug, but a year ago, the Daraja blog analysed the same survey data that Edward Lowassa responded to this week – see blog post: http://is.gd/6R8AUc. (Why did it take the Tanzanian press so long to report on a survey published 11 months ago?) Some of the figures are shocking (see chart: http://is.gd/kwO3cP), particularly the fact that Tanzanian’s reported belief in witchcraft, etc. is far higher than any other African country surveyed.

    It’s an issue nobody wants to address, so hats off to Lowassa for speaking out.

  2. So it was the Pew data? I had assumed something else given that it was so long ago – relatively speaking. Mind you many of the churches he’s touring these days espouse some pretty dodgy beliefs. And isn’t Lwakatare – curer of AIDS and carer of numerous ‘wasekule’ a CCM MP? He could start there. Physician, heal thyself!

  3. Loliondo and the oldman is a very shameful story. Tanzania in 21st century believing in this kind treatment. MPs, Regional Commissioners and elites flocking to Mzee for treatment? And the government chickening out and allowing this thing to happen. How will we respond to few more Loliondos to happen? I have heard another one has declared himself in Mbeya. The psychological impact of this is huge to the people and the country at large. Look at the front pages of leading papers like Mwananchi on this matter. Really the Nation is desparate!

    • Zitto, I do not agree with you on this. It is not a shame at all. If the medicines heals, and I strongly believe it does, then let’s expect the world to know Tanzania for this.

      Babu Mwasapile should be supported. We need to move this treatment to the next level- patent the trees, open a huge pharmaceutical company etc etc, earn forex for Tanzania. Zitto, do you still believe this is a shame? No Please!

    • I can hardly believe these, it’s absolutely incredible! Come on now Zitto, be focused, have you read the Bible? Where was Jesus born, wasn’t it in the manger? Listen , God is not a respector of men, He choose whomever HE wants, moreover, read Romans 3:4 Not at all, let God be true and every man a liar, it is written, so that you may be proved right when you speak, and prevail when you judge, check your facts, brother!

  4. Zitto, why is it shameful to believe in something other than Western/bio medicine? C’mon people! Who decides what is rational or not? I mean, are you suggesting we must all believe in one and the same thing? That there would be shameful, I think.

  5. Fausta and Masele, it is really a shame to the nation and i repeat it loudly. This is simply a withcraft and patenting etc is simply rhetoric. No one says we believe in one and the same. This thing of Loliondo is simply a phenomenon like any other and you will be the same people to blame the government when side effects starts to been reported.
    As a responsible leader, i clearly state stop this Loliondo non sense. Why didnt we start talking about patenting weeds from Maji Marefu etc. They have been treating people all the years and even been licenced! You really beleive HIV/AIDS can be treated by by magic? We are in the state of desparation. I stand out to be counted in opposing Loliondo Babu!

  6. i’ve done an article about babu at http://www.wazolawiki.wordpress.com pse read and comment

  7. Fausta na Maselle, Ebu mkafatiliye patenting za hizi basi http://www.tzaffairs.org/2007/05/stop-biopiracy/

    Words of Wisdom, Zitto.

    This whole thing is being handled kienyeji…

  8. Zitto, people will always flock where hope is. I can understand your underlying theme – which is reliance on science and technology – but my question for you is this – why the heck Tanzania is still in dark? Isn’t energy your focus in Bunge? Now, that’s a real shame.

  9. Pastors, Zitto and others against the pastor at Loliondo.

    God loves people; that is why he has ordered to heal the sick [matthew 10:8] but how many sick people are there in churches without being healed or else how many sick people are going abroad under their own risk and cost as if have no government to support.
    Pastors and Beshops are you blind too; read Isaiah 55:8 about the ways and thoughts of GOD. And you all can read the scripture in John 10:10 all about the need of satan to man; unless you now realize that satan heals now instead of destroying life as remarked by Jesus.
    Beshops and pastors should not forget about the scripture in Joel 2:28…your old men shall dream dreams, how the pastor received the treatment. AND again we should consider the blind man healed by Jesus what did the other church leaders said on healing style……are you a leader in the Church?
    Remember what had Jesus meant when said [Matthew 24:28] about vultures. Jesus said heaven and earth will pass away but his words will not pass away.[Matthew 24:35] believe the scripture.
    GOD says in Scripture that, ….from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have healed the wounds of my people lightly, saying, ‘peace, peace, when there is no peace.[Jer 8:10-11]. I believe that the holy sprit will talk to all who do not understand the time and seasons in the world and for sure all people are siners but only the blood of Lord Jesus cleanses us. Ecclesiastes 7:20 is enough for the above lineup.
    In due account I can say that those against pastor in Loliondo must testfy their GOD by healing the sick in their churches people will just come for they are seeking such places; imagine how much money people use in travelling to see the light not available to your churches. Have the anointing from above and God will use you, remember you will be judged by your words. Think twice are these that will be rejected by Jesus though were rebuking demons by his name? Are you not the one; no body can justfy themselves feel patient for the sick people, cry with them.

    I believe that, you will pray and hear from God for us instead of talking randomly.
    God bless you.

    • God loves people but He does not love sin. Many people want to be healed of their diseases but they dont want to forsake their sins. That is why they dont want to go to be prayed for in the churches where they are told to repent of their sins and get saved.
      Jesus healed all kinds of diseases and infirmities. If Babu was led by God to heal the sick why then does his cup not heal all diseases? Our eyes should be opened, we are living in the last days…many false prophets shall come and deceive many…
      Miracles are happening even today for those who believe. Even Jesus did not heal those who did not believe in Him.

  10. Jesus being a tree of life can touch any tree and make it capable of healing all diseases. this is spiritual, it is beyond science. you may compare it to other miracles in Bible and the Coran if there is one. Mch. Ambilikile is called by Jesus for that mission as his name Ambilikile suggests. May our Lord Jesus manifest more such miracles. May all men know that it is Jesus who heal and not any other.

  11. Is it unbiblical?
    Not at all, the Creator who is so merciful has seen the suffering of His people and extended a hand of help in these dark ages. Read the signs.The pastors and the bishops should take this as a challenge,and search themselves to see where they went wrong.If God is the Healer then why are so many people sufferring in our churches,with no help at all?Our answer should be obvious,we have failed,and our ways are unpleasant in the eyes of Lord. Time will tell,and most of our questions and doubts will be answered.

    • Do not be deceived, the Creator heals all kinds of diseases and infirmities, not only four diseases! We are living in the last days, many false prophets shall come and deceive many even the chosen people!
      Jesus, warned in Mathew 7: 22-23:(22) Many will say to Me in
      that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?”(23) And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”

  12. Hey Tanzanians, it’s true that we have something in a century to celebrate about, but why are prominent leaders like Zitto talking negatively on this issue? I believe that, if we ‘can monopolize this treatment and make it real in Tanzania by exposing it to the whole world letting each and everyone race know that we have we have something to share with them wherever they are then Tanzania would be a different country as opposed to what many have thought before. Thanks to Babu.

  13. Hey Tanzanians, it’s true that we have something in a century to celebrate about, but why are prominent leaders like Zitto talking negatively on this issue? I believe that, if we ‘can monopolize this treatment and make it real in Tanzania by exposing it to the whole world letting each and everyone race know that we have something to share with them wherever they are then Tanzania would be a different country as opposed to what many have thought before. Thanks to Babu.

  14. Sometimes we hav 2 leave behind science and see what z behind nature!if pple are being cured and declared cured then what z wrong there?we all hav our own beliefs but for this regardles of being a doctor I BELIEVE IN MIRACLE!

  15. To All: in reference to LOLIONDO
    Is better to keep quite if you have nothing to share! before you speak make sure what you want to share wish others are correct, God has given us an authority to test the spirit if it comes from him or from satan. don’t argue if you are not sure!!! but the Bible speaks the truth; we must know that we are on the end of days. “many will come on my name and performing great miracles!”

  16. people like zitto do nothing but show their ignorance. read about santeria (in cuba and other latin american countries, and even the united states), vudu (or voodoo in haiti, benin, nigeria, and togo), candomble in brazil, mamiwata (in benin and togo) and so on. it is not witchcraft, where i am sure, in your configuration, you mean the only kind you know, and that is to do harm. we are talking here of a spiritual aspect of everyday life which includes rituals such as making the sign of a cross – if you are a christian – or incantations, and silent prayers with a rosary – or tasbih if you are a muslim – invoking the name of god( or whoever, whatever you believe in). it is all about faith.
    we need to let go of this “holier than thou” and self-righteous attitude. it is the stuff that leads people to war and wanton murders in the name of religion or whatever else they deem important. look at nigeria, for example, and how often it has been in news due to “ethnic” or “religious” conflict. bottom line it is a matter of faith. which is an individual choice. if it does not work for you . . . keep walking. instead of disparaging others, as well as their beliefs.
    governments and politicians have nothing to do with it. if anything, they are often part of the problem because they pretend to, ostensibly, act for the best interests of all people.

  17. aibu!loliondo imetufungua macho kuwa tuna serikali ambayo ni less serious ,ambayo haijali usalama wa wananchi wake, inayoongozwa kwa nguvu za giza .viongozi wanaojifanya kwenda huko ni wanafiki wakubwa na wanatafuta cheap popularity.kama wana huruma sana na watanzania wakatoe misaada muhimbili au wapeleke wagonjwa india nasouth africa kwa hayo mahelikopta yao.we are fed up!stop this thing kabla hatujawa kichekesho cha dunia.for more information read MFALME JUHA !

  18. Let us keep our eyes to results as erosion soon..I’m scared!!

  19. It’s a bit sad, very sad indeed shame to the whole world, I am a Tanzanian born and bred but these types of stories make me ashamed of being a Tanzanian. I live abroad at the moment and when I tell people about this they just laugh and not a single one of them has thought of hopping onto a plane and visit Loliondo to heal their heart conditions or their diabetes!!

    500 shilings and then you are healed just like that? not one of the people I know here would want to visit Loliondo since the price is so cheap they could easily afford it go over get healed and make a holiday out of it too… Where is the brain?? I just don’t get it, are people in Tanzania that foolish?

    I have seen the clip on BBC some people die on their way to receive this medicine – how desperate are we? and when is this all going to end? there are new stories everyday and non of them seem to go any further? all we do is entartain and encourage this stupidity instead of discouraging them and concentrating on receiving proper treatment. Let me guess now that Loliondo exists HIV patients will multiply people will care less knowing if they catch the desease they will simply pay 500 shillings and get healed!

    If I could come back and build a beautiful mansion somewhere near the beach/mountain and dress in a white gown and have servants around me dressing the same! calling myself God and ask people to pay 200o shillings to come spend an afternoon in my beautiful mansion called heaven people will pay and believe me if I tell them their life will get better after seeing me for the afternoon, are we that stupid???

    Where is the brain? are we that desperate? what’s next after Loliondo, come on people WAKE UP!!!!!

  20. Sometimes I am so sad for people.
    I am sad for the ignorant who buy snake oil, who put their faith in anything miracle.
    Like Anne, I am sad for the Tanzanian people. Things ARE so bad that they can’t make a regular life for their families.
    I’m sad for the preachers who spout hate – is it just that we need hate to feel alive?
    Pat Patton once asked his congregation what they felt deep inside their guts when they heard about the suffering of one of their countrymen: “hah, serves you right!” is the visceral reaction. “It’s not me suffering there” on the cross.

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  22. dear all,
    We have to realize that, God does not do anything unless justified it to his servants- now before coming up of masapila where were the leaders of churches, bishops, and pastors. It means were sailing both in the same boat.
    Secondly, they complain openly through mouth talks against masapila haven’t they have prayers to stop it immediately, some comment on government to stop him don’t they have powers over witches.
    Thirdly, they are sheperds of lambs must stand for the safety of them, otherwise are watu wa mshahara. Should one stand and say what has received from God in regard to what Jesus told him about loliondo treatment. And give us the simptons of its ending. I caution those saying to receive from God, it should be real from God.

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