25 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Makandiwa 'Miracle Diamonds' Spark Debate

The possession of diamonds in Zimbabwe appears to be tightly controlled for some but acceptable for others.

Activists have accused ZANU PF of being 'two faced' in regard to possessing diamonds. There are several high profile cases where people have been arrested for possessing diamonds, such as in the case of businessman Newman Chiadzwa.

The issue came to the fore when controversial prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa "miraculously" manifested diamonds and gold during a church service last weekend.

Zimbabwean law, as it stands, prohibits unlicensed people from possessing these valuable objects. But Mines Minister Obert Mpofu reportedly said the United Family International Church founder has a "God given talent and should be supported."

The NewsDay newspaper quotes the minister saying: "If it is true that he does those things, then he should be supported. He has his gift from God and no one can dispute or criticise that. If he can perform miracles let us support him."

Kimberley Process Local Focal Point person Shamiso Mutisi, who is also a lawyer with the Zimbabwe Environmental Association, said Mpofu's response is especially shocking as there is a law administered by the Ministry of Mines that tightly controls the dealing or possession of precious stones.

Mutisi told SW Radio Africa: "Those provisions should have been stated by the minister because he is the one who administers that piece of legislation."

Makandiwa, who is drawing thousands of people to his church in Harare, reportedly stunned worshippers last Sunday when some found themselves in possession of pieces diamonds and gold during the service while others experienced equally extraordinary miracles like growing teeth, hair being extended and one woman claims to have lost weight.

Mutisi said, while he does not believe that the precious stones fell from heaven, the authorities should investigate how these diamonds were acquired. He added: "If you picked the stone from somewhere, be it through religious purposes, you are still required to report to the police, if you do not have a permit."

When contacted for comment, Minister Mpofu said he was on leave. But critics say it is not a surprising response from senior ZANU PF officials who have a history of supporting miracle manifestations.

The best known case was that of Rotina Mavhunga, the 'diesel n'anga' who conned government ministers into believing that she could miraculously manifest diesel which came oozing from a rock in the Chinhoyi outback.

Meanwhile, doubters of Makandiwa's 'spiritual powers' say the controversial prophet is using the promise of miracles and financial abundance to manipulate people. Believers are adamant he is an anointed servant of God who is demonstrating that God can do miracles.

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