Witchcraft and elections prompt a unique response from an evangelistic group.

By October 27, 2005

Africa (MNN)–We find reports of witch doctors being used to influence Tanzania’s recent election.

The country faces presidential and parliamentary elections on October 30. There are fears the outcome could mean a bloodbath.

Politiicians have been seen visiting witch doctors in order to influence the outcome in their favor. There are 35 million people in Tanzania, many of whom claim to be either Christian (30%) or Muslim (35%). However, there is a cultural respect for the animist beliefs.

Grace Ministries International’s Sam Vinton says the practice has proven troublesome for their missionaries. That’s especially true when sorcery has been employed in the Congo to influence political office. “It’s this long ingrained idea that if I’m in power, the only way I can stay here in power is by having one of these witchdoctors or sorcerers be my protector and, of course, they are paid.”

Vinton believes it’s a culturally-accepted norm, even among those who may call themselves ‘Christians’. “We’re beginning in our churches in Congo to start back over again with salvation and bring in the idea of who God is and how sin came into the world and the awfulness of sin and how it came into the world and trying to tie that into our evangelistic thrust.”

At the same time, opposition has risen in the Congo against those who are involved in the evangelistic work. GMI partner Wabula Wabingwa was imprisoned for two days and fined $600 for preaching a message on the radio challenging the Congolese practice of sorcery. He met with the security officers who decided the best way to help him was to tear up all the written records of his case in their files.

Please pray for men like Wabula who face strong opposition from political and religious leaders when they expose the falseness of many of the practices in their countries.

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