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Published:June 23rd, 2006 07:44 EST
Being Conned by a Preacher

Being Conned by a Preacher

By Francis Karugah

Desperate is how you can describe most people in Africa and also the rest of the world when faced by challenges that defeat mans knowledge in solving them, especially when it comes to HIV. When one has tried so many times to have a child and fails, they turn to science for a solution but the treatment given by science doesn’t assure one a 100% return.  It is very costly and is a privilege very few in the society can afford.

Those who can afford the treatment are left desperate when the treatment fails and the urge for a child of their own leaves them vulnerable to so many cons. Also look at people with HIV/AIDS, most are indeed desperate to get a cure as they view the disease as a time bomb and in their search for a cure they become desperate and vulnerable as well.

With so many people desperate for children, cure for AIDS and wealth, some people are coming up with ideas to help them. Take the case of Lucy Nduta, a Nairobi based evangelist who promised people the cure for AIDS through prayer, also promised women they would conceive through prayer.  However, you have to plant “seeds” for your prayer request to come true and the “seeds” are valued between 200,000 shillings and 400,000 shillings. Most people say they have had to sell parts of their property to raise the money, as she doesn’t settle for less.

After payment, those seeking to get cured are taken to her church for a one-week vigil in preparation for the prayers. After the prayers are received, the people are taken to a clinic of her choice where they are tested and after a week of waiting they are told the results are negative. But one of those women, a lady who prefers to stay anonymous says she didn’t feel any better and that’s when she decided to take an independent test and when it came back positive, she went to the press.

After her story was aired on national television others came forward which led to her arrest and last week was charged with acquiring fraudulent money through false pretence and later she was released with a cash bail of 300,000.  She left the courts and met her congregation who sang and danced upon her release.  However, AIDS activists are calling on all those who are positive saying there are ways of living positively and are urging people to avoid cons who promise cures for AIDS as it is not curable.

All this is coming amid a campaign by government headed by the president that promotes ANTIRETROVIRAL THERAPY, which is a combination of drugs and a healthy eating pattern that slows down the HIV virus from multiplying.  Therefore less viruses attack the immune system. ART also helps the immune system get strong.