It’s criminal for clergy to stop people from taking ARVs, warns Rev Sumaili


RELIGIOUS affairs minister Godfridah Sumaili says it is criminal to stop people from taking Anti-Retroviral Drugs because doing so is like sending people to an early death.

Commenting on the concern raised by Sinda district commissioner Paradious Sakala who informed her that some people in the district died because they had stopped taking ARVS after pastors told them that they had been healed, Rev Sumaili said it was only God who heals.

“This is an issue that has to be taken very seriously by the clergy. It’s God who heals and not man. When people are on prescription drugs, it’s only the doctor who can stop them from taking the drugs,” she said.

“So what the servants of God are supposed to do is pray for the people and then leave it to the doctors to ascertain if somebody is healed or not healed. As it is now, there is no cure for HIV and AIDS and that’s why people have to be on ARVs. So clergy out there, please it is criminal to stop people from taking ARVs because you are sending them to an early death.”

On some titles ascribed to some clergymen like lioness, eagle one, prophetess eagle one, Rev Sumaili said such things should be stopped forthwith.

“We need to have order in the Body of Christ; we need to have a way in which people ascend to positions of pastor, reverend, bishop, and apostle. You cannot ordain yourself and let me say this, very, very soon we are coming up with some guidelines and these guidelines are coming from the Church themselves to see how the conduct of a servant of God can be regulated,” she said. “First and foremost, they have to stand with the bible, the word of God. We expect servants of God to be above board. They are the light, they are the salt of the earth and they need to demonstrate that kind of character.”

Rev Sumaili also called for an end to excessive drinking of alcohol and sexual immorality.

She described her trip to Eastern Province as good.

Earlier when she called on Chief Madzimawe, Rev Sumaili said this year her ministry would try as much as possible to help chiefdoms to conduct prayers during the National Day of Prayer and Fasting.

“I am so grateful to the second president, the late [Frederick] Chiluba who obeyed God and (declared Zambia a Christian nation) I am also grateful to President Edgar Lungu who felt that this declaration needed to have a meaning, needed to be real and needed to be actualised and so he has taken a number of steps,” she said. “The first one is declaring 18 October as a day where we meet to fast and to pray together to thank God, to repent and to reconcile with one another and just to receive God’s blessings and these programmes have been going on very well.”

Rev Sumaili said while in the province (last week) she had wonderful meetings with Chipata mayor Sinoya Mwale, Chipata Diocese Auxiliary Bishop Benjamin Phiri, Paramount Chief Mpezeni and Madzimawe.

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