Faith, Traditional Leaders in Thyolo Told to Dispel Satanic Beliefs on UBR

Kaliati Kaliati - pic by Luka Beston

Gender, social welfare and community development minister Patricia Kaliati, has urged traditional and religious leaders in Thyolo to sensitize their subjects on the importance of UNICEF supported Unified Beneficiary Registry (UBR) as some are linking it to satanic.

During the launch of the electronic payment of Social Cash Transfer Programme on Monday in Thyolo, stakeholders registered concerns that some religious leaders are advising their faithful to avoid providing details to enumerators conducting UBR exercise underway across the district.

Senior Chief Khwethemule said he has reports that some community members are linking the exercise to satanic.

"We hear sadly that some religious leaders are stopping their faithful not to register claiming the exercise is satanic. Of course, I have advised my fellow chiefs to talk to them and help the enumerators to collect the data. Currently, others are now understanding," he said.

However, Kaliati emphasized on the need for traditional and religious leaders in the district to sensitize their subjects on the importance Registry and ensure its smooth implementation.

"I need to commend you religious leaders here for your zeal to serve God. But, you should help us on these reports that some of your leaders are advising their subjects not to take part in this exercise. This is not linked to satanic in any way. Please make sure you sensitize them on the importance of the exercise," Kaliati said.

And speaking to Zodiak on Tuesday Thyolo district pastors fraternal chairperson Pastor Lloyd Somela, described the reports as unfortunate and promised to reach out to the faithful.

Somela said some faith leaders are just mixing up the issues with development initiatives that are vital to the citizenry.

"This issue has come to this I think because we have had a mixture of mythical issues recently, such as Covid-19. However, this is not good. This is because if they continue that would deprive their members from help in times of disaster.

"I am just asking my fellow religious leaders to understand issues where government is exercising its responsibility of helping our members. So they need to understand that," Somela said.

UNICEF' social protection specialist George Juwawo said, the social protection database will be helping government and development partners to easily target communities needing socio-economic interventions in the district, such as humanitarian aid.

"We know this is an information gap that means people are not sensitized enough on what UBR is and what government is trying to achieve. As UNICEF and development partners we work with government as well as district council to go out as well and sensitize on the importance of UBR and what we are trying to achieve.

"We are very happy today that the political leadership and here was also able to articulate on the importance of UBR," he said.

The database will also be key in avoiding duplication of efforts by development stakeholders in the district.

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