OPPOSITION MDC-T legislator last Thursday said she was going to lobby Parliament to allow witchcraft to co-exist with Christian beliefs, claiming Christians had a tendency of looking down upon traditional beliefs including sorcery.
Matabeleland South senator Sithembile Mlotshwa asked Rural Development and Heritage minister Abednigo Ncube to explain measures being taken by his ministry to defend traditional religion as part of preservation of culture.
Mlotshwa has in the past raised a lot of controversial issues in the Senate, like the introduction of se_x toys in prisons, and that couples must have se_x once a month.
“When we look at the Constitution, it says Zimbabwe is a Christian country, but we also have our culture which we need to preserve,” Mlotshwa said.
“However, looking at musical programmes on State broadcaster ZTV, Christians are shown performing songs that look down on the work of traditional healers and call it diabolic, yet that is the traditional culture of Zimbabwe and should not be viewed as diabolic.”
In response, Ncube said the country allowed for freedom of worship.
“The Constitution says there is freedom of worship and if you want to follow the traditional type of worship, it is up to you. If you want to follow Christianity or any other religion, you are free to do so. If you choose to play drums or traditional cultural dances, it is entirely up to you as Zimbabwe is a democratic country and a free country which believes in the conscience of individuals,” he responded.
Mlotshwa said there was need for co-existence of religions, adding the ministry must ensure that Christians and those that practice witchcraft co-exist because traditional religion was allowed.
Mashonaland West senator Tapera Machingaifa (Zanu PF) also asked Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora if it were possible for parents to go to schools to train their children traditional dances in preservation of culture.
“I am not a racist or a tribalist, but is it possible for parents to go to schools and train children traditional dances? In my constituency, children are being taught a dance called ‘chinyamusasure’ and Mhondoro music.
“Children should be taught traditional dances that obtain in their constituencies. In some constituencies there is Mbakumba dances while in Mashonaland Central there is Jerusarema,” Machingaifa said.
Dokora said the new curriculum will include cultural dances, especially in infant and grade two schools where children will be taught performing arts, by their teachers, and even parents from their areas of residence.