What’s the motive behind Gwajima’s anti-jabs agenda?

Thursday July 29 2021
Gwajima pic

Bishop Josephat Gwajima. PHOTO | FILE

By Charles Makakala

Bishop [self proclaimed] Josephat Gwajima is a man with a plan: to end Tanzania’s Covid vaccination programme.

Two months ago, Gwajima stood up in Parliament and provided a passionate speech against Covid vaccines. The speech went viral: and the man who was used to be the centre of attention as a preacher became the centre of attention as a politician. And no one basks in limelight more than him.

Gwajima argued then that the use of mRNA vaccines will modify human DNA thus turning them into zombies. However, this is an assertion that is debunked by science, one expert likened it to ‘a Tesla Model S constructing itself in my driveway’! Simply put: mRNA can’t combine with DNA to change human genetic code. Given facts, normal people would have remained silent. But Gwajima isn’t a normal person.

Therefore, on Sunday July 25, Tanzanians were treated with another episode of Gwajima’s antivax series. He asked: One, if I am vaccinated, should I wear a mask? Answer: Yes, you should. Two, if I am vaccinated, will I be infected (of Covid)? Yes you will. Three, if I am vaccinated, will I infect others (if infected)? Yes you will. Four, if I am vaccinated and another variant of coronavirus arrives will I be infected? Yes, you will. Then, Gwajima asked: why should I be vaccinated?

Many well-intentioned individuals have been taken away with Gwajima’s logic. One needs to be quite keen to appreciate the fallacies he presented. Let’s use Johnson & Johnson – the vaccine which the US government has donated to Tanzania to highlight what he did.

J&J has several benefits: Firstly, it reduces the likelihood of being infected with symptoms by 70 percent. Secondly, out of one million people who will be vaccinated, only 900 will be hospitalised (6,000 without the vaccine). That’s a whopping 85 percent reduction in serious cases – a solid reason for its deployment.

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However, hundreds of hospitalisations from the vaccinated and the unvaccinated alike still causes a huge burden on our hospitals. Just consider latest reports from Bugando and KCMC. This is why other precautions need to be taken to keep infections down. This doesn’t imply that the vaccines are useless – it implies that on their own they are not enough to keep everyone safe.

Gwajima’s answers betrayed a significant failure of comprehension. When experts say ‘likely’ and ‘might’ as gradations of probability he hears ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in absolute terms. But millions of everyday decisions are based on probability. When clouds are heavy, we carry umbrellas. Are we 100 percent sure that it is going to rain? We board aeroplanes without asking pilots ‘are you 100 percent certain that the plane will arrive safely?’ We are aware of the risks, but experience has taught us that this is usually very unlikely.

Today, at least 2 billion people have been vaccinated. While the risks of adverse effects are there, reportedly you have better odds of being struck by lightning. With respect to long term effects, that’s still being observed. In 1954, a polio vaccine was introduced under similar conditions to save tens of thousands of children who were dying. We are still here today, aren’t we? Common sense prevailed.

But Gwajima didn’t stop at vaccines. He said: ‘Any doctor that will promote vaccines without telling us whether he has done an analysis of the chemical contents of the coronavirus vaccine and its effects today and after 10 years you will die, says the ‘Lord of Hosts,’ a Tanzanian doctor: dying? You should die in the name of Jesus!

Firstly, one wonders who appointed Gwajima as a drugs and vaccines lord in Tanzania. Secondly, why does he think that those who disagree with him should die?

I think what we see here is abuse of religion at its worst: Gwajima isn’t saying ‘Look! Here’s my evidence, come and see for yourself’. No. What he is saying is that ‘I alone know the truth – and if you say anything different you should die!’ Imagine that!

Now, again, this isn’t religion but abuse of religion. Remember those who condemned Galileo Galilei to die for his scientific views? Or a nation such as Saudi Arabia which bans other religions because they have sole proprietorship on religious truth? Gwajima has just graduated into that category.

It’s difficult to see how a person that recklessly pronounces deaths to hundreds of professionals for doing their jobs will be doing that to save lives – any life. So, again, what is his agenda?

People have tried to analyse whether Gwajima was lying or not. My opinion is – he was doing neither. There is a scholarly term for what he does, and Harry Frankfurt’s paper ‘On Bullshit’ is crucial to understand the Gwajimas of this world.

Frankfurt calls bullshit a ‘deceptive misrepresentation, short of lying, especially by pretentious word or deed’.

To lie one needs to know the truth and makes people believe in something else. But bullshit doesn’t care about truth, it only cares about the impression people get. ‘The bullshitter may not deceive us about the facts. What he does necessarily attempt to deceive us about is his enterprise’.

Gwajima knows that Tanzania will most probably continue with its Covid vaccine programme. So, behind his ‘you will die’ bravado lies his true agenda is, in my opinion, to attract attention. How has Gwajima become a household name? By ‘raising people from the dead’? Highly suspicious. I think it is mainly by issuing shocking statements. Whether it is about purchasing trains, abusing clerics or regional commissioners. Whenever there is something that he can capitalise on – he comes to life and milks it to the fullest. Thus, he wasn’t done on Sunday – he promised more. How many times have we seen that?

Gwajima knows that publicity, even bad publicity, is an asset. Unfortunately, his latest approach puts lives in danger.

He should be stopped... Now!