Religions split by mbanje policy

Emmanuel Kafe
Government’s recent decision to legalise cannabis farming for medicinal purposes has divided religious leaders.

Via Statutory Instrument 62 of 2018 (Dangerous Drugs – Production of Cannabis for Medicinal and Scientific Use Regulations), Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa legalised farming of cannabis for scientific and medicinal purposes.

Those willing to grow the crop will fork out US$50 000 to be licenced.

Zimbabwe National Practitioners Association president Sekuru Friday Chisanyu welcomed the development saying: “The drug is part of our herbal medicine and it’s a step ahead in our health services. We have always used it to cure certain ailments and exorcism.”

But Christians are of a different view.

Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe’s Pastor Blessing Makwara said: “Was this legislation presented for public debate?

How many users of mbanje for medicinal purposes have been documented to warrant the national promulgation of a statutory instrument?

“We are witnessing an escalation of drug abuse and addiction at an unparalleled scale in churches especially in countries where the drug has been legalised.

The policing of the legal use of mbanje could be problematic as many may use it for recreational purposes.”

Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs chair Sheikh Ishmael Duwa said recreational cannabis use was unlawful in Islam, though medicine was in another category.

Naturally, the Rastafarian community is on “a high”.

Chaminuka Nyabingi Shrine’s Godfrey Chikonese said,

“It is a biblically sanctioned communion, though non-Rasta’s have abused it.

“The biblical King Solomon said that wine was good for the heart and chalice – read marijuana – was good for the soul.”

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