Home News Tanzania Tz traders cash in on ‘miracle’ cup

Tz traders cash in on ‘miracle’ cup

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DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA - Hundreds of businessmen in Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Manyara regions are virtually minting from the plight of sick people who track to a remote village of Samunge, Arusha to drink the miracle 'cup' of herbal medicine that is claimed to cure incurable diseases including cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, heart-related ailments, and many more.
Transporters who take people from Arusha town to the village, some 450 km away, have been charging between Tshs 120,000 (US$80) and Tshs 160,000 ($105) for a round trip instead of the normal bus fare of Tshs 30,000 ($20).
The village, on the edge of the Serengeti game park next to the Kenya border, has suddenly become famous in weeks.
Tours operators are diverting their vehicles from taking tourists to the renowned Serengeti game parks in northern Tanzania of Manyara, Ngorongoro, Tarangire, climbs on Mt Kilimanjaro, to the remote village. They claim now is time to cash in. Operators of helicopters from Nairobi and Arusha airports are also cashing on the sick people who want to 'get cured' quickly from the retired priests 'cup'.
At Sumange village in Loliondo district, in Arusha region, where an estimated daily visitors of 6,000 people flock to from across Tanzania, and others from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and India, patients queue tirelessly to get the drug from the retired Lutheran Church pastor, Ambilikile Mwasapile (87).
While only a few weeks ago food vendors used to sell a plate of rice and beef at Tshs 1,500 ($1.0) now charge about Tshs 5,000 ($3.35), bottled water is also selling at hiked prices and all other needs have suddenly gone up in prices.
However, the retired priest, who charges Tshs500 ($0.33) per cup of the miracle cure for local people and $1.0 for foreigners, for a cup of boiled herb of the Savannah landscape, mgarika, has condemned people taking advantage of the sickness of people to enrich themselves.
He warns that if they continue with their evil practices "they will surely become bankrupt."
The cup of medicine, which he personally dispenses from his plastic cup, is said to cure incurable diseases. Many government and religious leaders including Bishops have publicly confessed the drug has worked for them.
 The former Premier Edward Lowassa, MPs such as the controversial Augustine Mrema have been there and testified to their being cured. Many MPs are now making political mileage by providing free transport for their sick constituents to Loliondo in the name of generosity.
Positive confessions from leaders, have made it difficult for the Ministry of Health to stop to Mwasapile from dispensing the cup to the thousands of patients. The area district  commissioner said cars have backed up almost 15 km and by last week, an estimated 10,000 people were waiting to take their turn to drink the medicine. Patients must take the drug in his presence given by his hand. He says "if you take it away, it won't cure you."
The Ministry issued a stop order a few weeks ago to 'stop for a while' as it conducted an efficacy test on the herb and to ensure that sanitary facilities were installed at the remote village which doesn't capacity to accommodate the many visitors.
The Government has deployed a large police contingency to ensure peace and safety of the priest and to maintain orderly movement of the long queues to avoid fights from people jumping the queue.
The retired priest says he was first 'called by God' in a vision to administer the herbal drug in 1991, but ignored it.
He was reminded again in 1999, when he once again ignored the order, but had to obey the call of duty in August 2010 when he started to administer to a few people.
Mwasapile's miracle cure came to the light when the press started to write extensively about it late last month.
By then hundreds of people had been treated including political leaders who testify they were cured of long illnesses.
Although the Government wants to test the drug, but Mwasapile said 'they will not find anything they are looking for "because it's God-sent and no human being can discover what God has put into the drug." He  says people must take the drug believing that they will be cured of their diseases.
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