By Staff Reporter
A local health rights group has come out guns blazing against self-styled televangelist Walter Magaya’s astounding claims he has finally discovered the much elusive cure for HIV/Aids.
In a statement on Monday, the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) slammed the Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries founder for “outrageous claims” and demanded his censure by authorities.
“ZADHR takes great exception to the recent claims by Prophet W Magaya that he has found a cure for HIV and AIDS,” said the group.
“ZADHR acknowledges the prophet’s right to freedom of worship and his entitlements to his beliefs.
“However, it is the conviction of ZADHR that any claims to cure HIV must only be made in the presence of irrefutable scientific evidence that is obtained through proper and ethical research methodologies.”
Magaya Sunday told a group of local and international journalists he invited to his church that he had finally found a plant that could totally destroy HIV inside one’s body within 14 days as well as suppress the development of cancer cells.
The Harare preacher said he had rejected offers worth tens of millions in US dollars from corporates willing to buy him off and begin commercial production of the “miracle drug”.
But ZADHR was quick to caution such claims could unnecessarily reverse the gains made so far in the fight against the AIDS scourge.
“Such unverified claims have the potential to increase the number of Anti-Retroviral Therapy defaulters, increased risky behaviour practices and exposure to potentially harmful side effects of the herbs.
“ZADHR calls upon Prophet Magaya to publicly reverse his claims that he had a cure for HIV and AIDS as there is no empirical research that proves his claims.”
The group also called on Health Minister Obadiah Moyo to publicly censure the preacher and also institute an investigation into the safety of the herbs he claims to have stocked.
However, government has taken a rather guarded approach to Magaya’s claims with Information and Publicity Minister Monica Mutsvangwa Monday cautioning against the abandonment of ARVs among those taking the drugs.
She also said government was in the process of subjecting Magaya’s “cure” to the necessary scientific tests after which it was going to update the public on the way forward.