Tanzanian ‘miracle’ pastor Mwasapile calls for a break

by: - March 28, 2011
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A Tanzanian pastor has asked people to stop going to his remote home for a “miracle cure” after thousands flocked there, causing chaos in the surrounding area.

Rev Ambilikile “Babu” Mwasapile, 76, says he does not want any new arrivals until after Friday 1 April, to let the crowds die down.

Local media report that about 52 people have died while waiting to see him.

A BBC reporter says the queues to see him stretch for 26km (16 miles).

Belief in magic and the powers of traditional healers are widespread in Tanzania.

Some witchdoctors say that the body parts of people with albinism are effective when making magic charms, leading to the killing of dozens of albinos in recent years.

Mr Mwasapile’s concoction is made from herbs and water, which he sells for 500 Tanzanian shillings (five cents; 3p).

Medical experts in Tanzania are investigating both whether it is safe and if it has any medicinal properties.

When she visited Mr Mwasapile’s home near the northern Loliondo town recently, the BBC’s Caroline Karobia found 6,000 people waiting to see the retired Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) pastor.

They are waiting for days by the roadside and outside his home in Samunge village without shelter, clean water or toilets.

As word has spread in the past month of the pastor’s supposed ability to cure any ailments, some people have even been taken out of hospital by their relatives who believe they are more likely to be cured by Mr Mwasapile.

Some of these have died before seeing him, while others are reported to have died after taking his concoction.

Extra police have been deployed to the area to control the huge crowds, some of whom have travelled from neighbouring countries such as Kenya and even further afield.

Mr Mwasapile asked for the break following a meeting with local officials.

Source: BBC News