IN a bid to deal with their problems and a deep sense of home sickness and alienation, Zimbabweans in the UK have ‘turned to God’. God has been used for ‘comfort’ and ‘deliverance’.

In the middle of these vulnerable souls are jackals and money-mongers in the form of men-of-the-cloth. Teachings of respecting pastors and their wives have made them demi-gods in the churches. The respect and hero-worshiping of pastors has become rampant in the UK.

In fact, Zimbabweans are fast-becoming a laughing stock because of the way they worship their pastors. And most of these ‘pastors’ are nothing but eloquent criminals promising financial breakthroughs for those who tithe.

The victims of these ‘fake pastors’ vary from the most educated to the less-educated. It is a sorry sight when you see a fully-grown man give all his savings to a pastor and then fails to send even a penny back home.

In unbelievable defiance to the word, they call their pastor ‘daddy’, ‘baba’, ‘papa’, ‘man-of-God’, and ‘the Holy one’, among other names. In order to get their allegiance, the clueless flock is given useless titles and positions such as ‘attaché’, ‘overseer’ and so on in these ‘churches’.

All this is done to control the thinking of the poor souls. Even God in heaven must be weeping for his Zimbabwean children in the land of the Queen. Big men and grown women are reduced to ‘daddy’s dancing boys and girls’. Really, what will our children be called if you are called daddy’s dancing boys and girls? The ‘love of God’ has created zombies out of the saints. Presently, it appears the devil is winning. Whoever told Zimbabweans they are a cursed lot and only a pastor can rescue them must surely be arrested. Almost every week, there is some scandal of some sort committed by these so-called pastors. But anybody who challenges these ‘pastors’ is called a devil. To keep their flock in line, they fake miracles while the poor are marginalised as the pastors live a royal life.

People are promised extension of visas if they give to the pastor. If the visa does not come, they are told to wait as ‘it will come double-double’. These prosperity gospel-peddlers are responsible for many marriage breakdowns. Startling is the difference between these religions.

There are also pastors who are recommending no medical care for their followers. They define flesh as ‘an error of physical belief’, ‘an illusion’ or ‘a belief that matter has sensation’ – and this has led to the death of numerous children who have been denied medical care. They have come up with some absurd health regimes. They preach that all mental problems are ‘spiritual in nature’ – including depression, hyperactivity and learning disorders.

In the process, they deny their followers and children care. Testimonials from members also state that children can sometimes be separated from their parents and forced into hard labour from as young as eight. This is happening in the so-called advanced and developed UK. In the UK, religion is practised in the privacy of groups who in most cases, do not let the cat out of the bag.

They are abused in total silence. Part of what has allowed abuses to continue unabated for so long is the inexplicable power these preachers have over congregants. They have the power to not only convince their followers not to report abuses to outside authorities, but also to give them money.

Perhaps most toxic is the broken sense of trust felt by victims and victims’ parents — having given religion their love, spirituality and innocence in the belief they are right and moral, only for them to obliterate that trust.

Victims end up suffering from self-hatred, low self-esteem and depression. Some are even committing suicide after failing to get help. Surely people who join a particular religious group don’t have the luxury of not paying attention to what that religion and its hierarchy are doing.

It is being irresponsible to ignore patterns of abuse. No doubt fake prophets and prophetesses have turned Zimbabweans in the UK into zombies