By Elias Mhegera, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – IT is no longer news in Tanzania that there is a spiritual healer retired pastor Ambilikile Mwasapile (76), in the Samunge village, Sale Ward in Ngorongoro district.
The former pastor with the Evangelic Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) has created a new twist in the name Loliondo. The place that has always been a centre of conflicts now is the haven of cure.
From controversial wildlife hunting rights, land ownership conflicts and the Maasai rights over pasture land, Loliondo division has come up with a new twist of a miracle healer who made hundreds of headlines.
The miraculous healer had since the past few weeks pulled crowds of people who are looking for healing out of medical hospitals. He claims that he dreamt of cure in 1991 but he did not grasp what to do with it exactly.
It is in August 26 last year when the dream came again this time with vivid elucidations of what should be done since that time he started the treatment without any kind of publicity, but it were the healed who gave him this overwhelming publicity.
Patients are now running away from the conventional hospital just to meet their doctors from those hospitals in a queue in Loliondo, for the same item, spiritual/miraculous cure, for diabetes, HIV/Aids, high blood pressure etc.
On Saturday last week the Speaker of the Tanzania’s National Assembly, Ms Anne Makinda complained that some MPs who were attending a seminar in Dar es Salaam absconded in order to go in Loliondo for the ‘cup’.
A Maasai traditional herbalist in Mnazi Mmoja area in Dar es Salaam Njoolay ole Sanando is surprised to see that people are cured from the poisonous material which is used to kill wild beasts.
“I am surprised to see that “yuwarai” the poison that we have been using for killing lions which were coming to our residents to eat our cows now is a rescuer of many lives,” he confessed.
Bordering the famous wildlife parks of Ngorongoro and Serengeti, Loliondo had turned into medical tourist site, driving away the media and human rights activists from the debate on hunting rights and land conflicts among the local Maasai pastoralists.
While the area (Loliondo) is making headlines aboute local herbalist and a spiritual healer, residents in Loliondo and Wasso townships saw another financial remedy from the serious social problems which have been facing them for quite a long time. They are slaughtering cows and goats for the ever increasing population.
For the past two weeks the Loliondo story has been covered either as the lead or second lead of the mainstream news papers. Controversy was added when the Governemnt had attempted to close down the service for sometime in order to verify the herbal just to meet strong outcry from the public, the decision was reversed immediately.
Thousands have already attended for the spiritual cup while many others including this reporter are waiting eagerly for the situation to calm down so that they can visit the ‘holy place’ to get ‘kikombe cha babu’ which simply means grandfather’s cup in Kiswahili, Tanzania’s national language.
So many people who have gone for the ‘cup’ have always witnessed before the media, but most interesting is the fact that there is an automatic offsetting of the media agenda since when the news broke to many of the media outlets particularly in Dar es Salaam, now it is Loliondo and not politics as usual.
Many media houses have made special coverage on the same; some have sent their reporters from Dar es Salaam to the village of miraculous healing, while others have just sent their representatives from Arusha a well known city for tourist activities.
The journey to the village which is located more than 300 Km from Arusha main centre, is not smooth both in terms of the cost but also the rough road. Only four wheel drives can reach the village in the remote area, and many have dropped from one car to another after they could not make it with their original means of transport.
At the village where the Land Cruisers charges between USD 100 to 150 equivalent to Tsh 150,000/= to 180,000/= just to get the curing liquid at the flat rate of USD 0.45 equivalent to Tshs 500/=. The old man has been criticizing those who hike prices unnecessarily.
According to one lecturer from the Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT), who preferred anonymity but has already secured the treatment the whole world is now in the village, from Tanzanians, Kenyans, Ugandans, Arabs and Indians, without forgetting tourists from European countries.
The Ministry of Health through its deputy minister Dr Lucy Nkya has blessed the therapy which is categorized under traditional herbals. But many have challenged it, since they would like to construe it as spiritual. This is a single dose cup of cc 250, administered by one person and once it is administered by another it is just a useless material.
The reason is before one is prescribed with the liquid herbal there is no medical examination, no one is supposed to explain their ailment, and instead one has to queue, get the cup and vacate the place in order to give the room for others.
On Tuesday night the National Television, owned by the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC-1) aired a one hour bulletin/ documentary which was promotional a sign that the government has at last accepted the cure.
Speaking was the former minister for Home Affairs and three times presidential aspirant Augustine Mrema who has a serious diabetic case. He explained at length how he has been empowered by the cure after 34 years of ailment.
Mrema said although he can not say that he has recovered fully, but there are good developments which tell that soon he will be a completely different person within a very short time to come. Diabetes has even roughened the face of person who came second to retired president Benjamin Mkapa in 1995.
Mrema who is the one time deputy prime minister before he crossed over to the then main opposition party the National Convention for Construction and Reforms (NCCR), in 1995, has called the Tanzanian Government to support the old man whose therapy has come as a rescue to many people and not Tanzanians alone.
Other prominent figures who have visited ‘babu wa Loliondo’ the grandfather of Loliondo to get the cup are the former Premier Edward Lowassa, Dr Makongoro Mahanga, the current minister for Labour, Employment and Youth and the Moshi Urban MP Philemon Ndesamburo, and some bishops.
Currently his village is a destination of top officials from the public and private sector, the UN, the East African Community as more than 1,000 cars is stranded there carrying passengers who are waiting for their turn very eagerly, not to forget others who arrive in helicopters.
“We see this man (Masapila) as a savior to most of us. He had pulled crowds of people from all corners of Tanzania to get his remedy services here. These people had changed Loliondo from an area best known for conflicts into a famous medical destination area”, said one Richard ole-Ndaskoi through a phone from Loliondo.