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False prophets, pastors worry South minister

NANCY MWAPE, Livingstone
SOUTHERN Province Minister, Nathaniel Mubukwanu, has bemoaned the high infiltration of the clergy by self-ordained prophets and pastors, who are stopping their HIV-positive members from taking medication.
Mr Mubukwanu said he was not in any way challenging the efficacy of prayer, but it must go along side scientific interventions.
He said this in Livingstone on Monday night during the candle-light service, an inter-denomination and inter-faith commemoration occasion, that comes on the eve of World AIDS Day and allows participants to pray to God, remember those that have died and those orphaned by HIV and AIDS.
“Even Jesus during his healing always asked the beneficiaries of such miracles to present themselves before the high priests for certification. It is not only outrageous for any church leader to wean patients from their ARVs, the consequences of such moves can lead to suffering and loss of life,” he said.
Mr Mubukwanu said some clergy have proved to be a great obstacle in the effort to have an AIDS-free generation; achieve zero new infections and zero deaths from HIV/AIDS.
He said the church is a key stakeholder in ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic and Government would like to see increased collaboration as the nation campaigns for zero new infections.
He said it is possible for Zambia to achieve zero new infections; reduce AIDS related deaths and to stop stigma and discrimination, but this calls for focus on key populations that are vulnerable and at high risk of infection.
Giving a homily, Pastor Kenny Silweya of Lion of Judah appealed to HIV positive people to adhere to medication.
“AIDS is real, it is not a demon. As pastors, we have killed a lot of people by stopping them from taking their drugs. Being HIV positive is not a death sentence; people should learn to come to terms with their condition, and those of you that are negative, please be supportive,” he said.

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