My attention has been drawn to a recent prayer by the South African Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng on the COVID-19 vaccine. Mogoeng has, at a Thanksgiving ceremony held at a local hospital to thank nurses and other health workers, asked God to destroy any vaccine that is infused with the antichristian symbol. He said: “Whatever phase is set to be coming, Lord, I judge it, I run it down in the name of Jesus. I lock out every demon of COVID-19. I lock out any vaccine that is not of you. If there be any vaccine that is of the devil meant to infuse 666 in the lives of people, meant to corrupt their DNA, any such vaccine, Lord God Almighty, may it be destroyed by fire! Any legalizing agent Lord for wickedness in this nation, for wickedness in Africa…Send your angels…to enforce Your will. No more suffering Lord”.
It is important to take a critical look at Mogoeng’s prayer and its implication on the management of this public health emergency.
In the prayer, the South African Chief Justice appealed to the fears and anxieties of the people in South Africa. Many South Africans have been anticipating further spread and more deaths as a result of the pandemic. Hence, Mogoeng said: “Whatever phase is set to be coming, Lord, I judge it, I run it down in the name of Jesus”. Now: what does this mean? Is that what is expected of a state officer? Is that how other countries are controlling and containing the virus? What is the connection between COVID-19 and the name of Jesus?
Now the chief Justice further said: “I lockout every demon of COVID-19”. Just imagine that. Is COVID-19 a form of demon? Not at all. COVID-19 is a virus. So why label it a demon? Meanwhile, there is no evidence that demons exist? Why did Mogoeng present himself as a charlatan? Why did he try to create the impression of doing something about the pandemic-locking out every demon of COVID-19-when he was doing nothing?
It was his next line of prayer that would make one cringe. He said: “I lock out any vaccine that is not of you. If there be any vaccine that is of the devil meant to infuse 666 in the lives of people, meant to corrupt their DNA, any such vaccine, Lord God Almighty, may it be destroyed by fire!”
I mean, what does Mogoeng know about vaccine and vaccine production and administration? Does he understand the workings of the DNA? What has the vaccine got to do with the devil or the so-called 666? What has any vaccine got to do with God? Scientists and pharmaceutical companies, not God, the devil, or the angels are the ones working on the vaccine. They are all hard at work trying to produce and make available a safe and effective vaccine.
So at a time when South Africans are grappling with the pandemic, Mogoeng should stop spreading unnecessary fears and anxieties over the COVID-19 vaccine. He should stop saying prayers that could mislead and misguide South Africans. As a public office holder, Mogoeng should know the importance of making public pronouncements within the limits of one’s office, profession, and expertise. Mogoeng is the chief justice, not the health minister of South Africa. He has training in law, not medicine or public health. Mogoeng has failed to obey the WHO directives on the management of the pandemic. The global health body has urged that pronouncements on COVID-19 be guided by facts, science, and evidence. WHO has advised against spreading misinformation and disinformation about the pandemic. Mogoeng’s prayer violated the WHO guidelines. The prayer drips with misinformation and disinformation about the pandemic and the vaccine. South African authorities should call Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to order.
Leo Igwe is a human rights activist and the founder of the Nigerian Humanist Movement. He was the Western and Southern African representative to IHEU, the International Humanist and Ethical Union. He can be reached by email HERE.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.