WEATHER experts have been dragged into a bizarre row with sangomas after predicting poor rains this year. The Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association (Zinatha) says the Meteorological Services Department (Met) forecasts are “wrong”, it has been reported.
Zinatha sangomas accuse the Met of playing God with its gloomy warning .
The state owned Chronicle reported Saturday that the Met’s forecast has been corroborated by regional and international weather monitoring organisations, including the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) which says there is a “90 percent chance” an El Nino — a weather phenomenon — will sweep through the region from October to December, adding: “Historically, El Nino conditions are associated with below-average and erratic rainfall in the southeastern parts of the region during this period. These conditions might result in a late start of the rainy season in the southern parts of Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe.”
But Zinatha, which brings together hundreds of practitioners of traditional African medicine, says it has a plan that will lead to a bumper harvest: a rainmaking ceremony. Dorothy Gumede, the Zinatha vice chairperson, says the traditional healers “believe rain should be asked for from God and no-one should predict the unseen side of God’s universe.”
She said Zinatha will on September 26 hold a rainmaking ceremony at Komninindaba Cultural Village in Bulawayo’s Luveve suburb. The rainmaking ceremony, she says, is meant to help the country receive better rains for the 2015-2016 farming season.
“We’ll ask for rain and it will fall,” declared Gumede. “We’re totally against the meteorologists’ prediction. They’re wrong to predict that there’ll be drought.”
Gumede claimed the country experienced showers last month because Zinatha members sat down and asked for precipitation from the traditional spirits.
“The weather suddenly changed when we gathered in our offices. There’s need to ask for rain from God as we used to do that in the past. Those who predict weather are wrong,” she added. She said the culture of having Hosana dancing during rainmaking ceremonies needed to be revived.
She attributed recent droughts to people having abandoned their cultural beliefs. “We’re inviting all Zimbabweans to attend the ceremony. Even church members are invited,” said Gumede. She said Zinatha had moved the rain-making ceremony from the usual Njelele Shrine in Matobo district because a majority of traditionalists involved in the event are from Bulawayo.
“We’ve prepared cultural food and made beer so that people will enjoy traditional food during the ceremony,” said Gumede. The Met insists that the early stages of the rainy season will be mostly characterised by poor rains, especially in the southern parts of the country. It has advised the government to plan for poor harvests.
“For now, we’re worried about the onset [of the rainy season],” says Met director Amos Makarau. “It should be noted that this is only an outlook. We’ll provide more details and updates in the coming days.”