Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: Return of the Cup - 'Babu Wa Loliondo' Prepares for 'Second Coming'of the Drug

REMEMBER the old druid of Samunge; the one who lured millions to the remote plains of Sonjo (in the Sale division of Ngorongoro), where he served an alleged magical drink capable of curing 'all ailments?'

Well, the former church priest turned herbal healer is making a new comeback; well at least, threatens to unleash a second miracle which he claims, will be even more powerful than the maiden one, that made headlines around the world throughout last year (2011).

Babu Ambilikile Mwaisapile, the 77-year-old, retired pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT), goes down the record of being the most successful herbal practitioner, as far as the number of patients is concerned, for attracting more than 6 million people into his hut within a period of 12 months.

His cauldrons are still boiling to date, but the number of patients has fallen from nearly 20,000 per day to less than ten, when we visited the Samunge village shrine last week. The cure that Babu Mwaisapile offers comprises of boiled 'Mriga-riga' tree roots but (as far as he is concerned), the resulting herbal drink is again fortified with prayers (he was after all, a priest) for maximum effect.

Now the 'Babu-of- Samunge' is prepared to reveal a second miracle; but before announcing the new revelation (of course from 'God,' just like the first), he is calling upon the government to repair the road leading from Mtowa- mbu junction in Monduli district to Loliondo division of Ngorongoro.

"The government made several pledges to make this road passable but until now nothing has been done to that effect; the un-tarmacked track way needs improvement because when it rains the villages here get cut off from civilization," he lamented. Babu Mwaisapile picked a bone with the (Samunge) village government for allegedly swindling 170 million/- which was collected as local taxes during the scramble for the so-called 'Loliondo cure,' in the course of last year.

The retired pastor maintains that the road was an important component of his soon to be unleashed 'Loliondo Miracle Mark II' which he boasts, will attract even more people than his debuting 'cup of elixir,' founded in 2010. To drive the point home, 'Babu' showed a large clearance in his Samunge village, where 'millions of people' from all over the globe, are expected to gather once the new 'secret' from high heavens springs out from the druid's Pandora box.

The new Samunge 'healingcum- miracle' facility will be located one and half kilometres from the previous herbal clinic and the 'clearance' where it is to be based, covers an ambitious 20 acres of land, which means no congestion, even if he strikes it lucky again to pull a similar 6 million crowd as he did in 2011. The cleared area will be installed with tents and two building structures. And the area will be supplied with clean and safe water.

The project to supply the new miracle area with water alone is projected to cost close to 20 million/- but the water will also be used by hundreds of villagers living close to the 'new herbal clinic' site. Last year, the old man used to administer more than 17,000 people per day, which means that he was attending nearly 2,000 vehicles daily, though now the story is different as he used to get one to three vehicles a day.

In those days, he used to boil thousands of litres of water mixed with the herbal tree roots and shoots daily, but at the moment he only needs to brew five litres of the dregs-in-water drink. Even now Babu administers his 'wonder cure' to a number of foreigners hailing from as far as Kenya, South Sudan, Uganda, DR Congo, Rwanda, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Rwanda, and all the way from South Africa.

Tanzanians are no longer going to Samunge, apparently. During the 'Loliondo' heydays patients would line up for weeks, queuing for the miracle drink with many of them dying in the process. To get to Samunge, people had to drive nearly 500 kilometres via the remote, Engaruka, Oldonyo L'engai, Ngaresero and Lake Natron areas.

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