Churches face ban

HARARE - Hundreds of churches worshiping in the open without sanitary facilities and bank accounts face being banned, as government moves in to bring sanity to the religious sector.

On Thursday, churches under the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) met with the Registrar General’s office, where new requirements for the hugely conservative churches were outlined.

Addressing more than 300 bishops during a reality check meeting, ACCZ executive president, Archbishop Johannes Ndanga announced the developments.

“We have gathered here for a reality check meeting in order for us to unanimously agree and comply with all, or some of the requirements from the Registrar General’s office for the common good of all member churches. Some of the alleged practices by apostolic and Zion churches are not healthy, and are therefore unwelcomed by the society and government,” said Ndanga.

Traditional apostolic churches, donning white robes, often pray in the open without proper ablution facilities exposing members to diseases.

They also occupy the land illegally and often clash with local authorities.

Apart from diseases, church members are also exposed to the vagaries of weather such as rain and lightning, which has killed several members of the apostolic church over the years.

“We should desist from such practices (praying in the open). One cannot illegally occupy land with the intention of establishing a church illegally.  That is a shameful example of self-interest,” said Ndanga.

With churches sprouting in every open space in greater Harare and around the country, the meeting
resolved that a raft of measures should be implemented  to bring on board the hugely conservative Zion and apostolic churches, famously known as mapositori (apostles).

Heads of Christian denominations in the country proposed stiffer penalties for errant churches, saying those worshiping in the wilderness and defecating in the bush, with no church buildings ought to be suspended or banned.

“Bear it in mind that during the meeting with the registrar general and other stakeholders, it has been agreed that every church should have an approved bank account, toilets, clean water facilities and legally occupy their land,” said Ndanga.

Now, with churches empowered to ordain marriages under the country’s laws, Ndanga said priests and preachers in the Zion and apostolic churches should “comply with legal formalities from the registrar general’s office so that they become commissioners and receive certificates.”

But the move has been viewed by traditionalist churches as a ploy from Pentecostal and emerging churches to push them into the backwaters, as competition for followers become intense.

Religious and cultural analyst, Joseph Pagan’a said the move to ban operations of indigenous apostolic and Zion churches can be traced to some church organisations representative bodies who feel threatened by ACCZ’s growing popularity.

“There is a serious disparity between indigenous churches and those regulated by organisations such as the Zimbabwe Council of Church (ZCC), Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC), Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ), to such an extent that the measures set by these church organisations are unfriendly, unholy.”

“The disparity comes in the sense that such churches (Pentecostal) started operating in this country during the colonial era and were assisted by the then colonial government to acquire land for free so that they establish their own churches and other expensive properties.

“To date, such churches and their representative bodies have flourishing bank accounts, adequate infrastructure and healthy sanitary facilities that cannot be compared to indigenous churches with the majority of which still worship under trees since they have empty coffers,” said Pagan’a.

Comments (11)

Saka mafunga kuvasunga yet when the time for elections come you'll find even the president wearing the same robes. Asi gvt haisisina mari such that they think they can tax our churches for the poor? Shame on you

Collin - 12 January 2014

Ndanga, why are you ushering in the Tribulation Period prematurely.Why are you tempering with freedom of worship?Why are you not commenting when Roman Catholic Priests sodomise small boys?Why are you not protesting for the closure of Roman Catholic Churches for their sodomy, homosexuality, etc?The white garments churches have been around even before you were born, why now, in 2014 are you fighting other worshipers?Ndanga, who are you working for?Definitely not the God of Heaven!!!!!!!!!!

Tribulation Period - 12 January 2014

I call upon these Ndanga and his so called Council Associations to rethink and revisit their decision to ban Churches operating in open spaces. What I can see now is that, failures of the gov't and frustration to turn the economy around, has caused the Govt to target innocent worshipers. President Mugabe himself, Mai Mugabe and others wore garments vari pamapostori in the open during presidential campaigns and nothing was seen wrong about that. Now elections are over, mapostori become a target. What an insult is that kumapostori. Leave mapositori alone, Jesus Christ himself worshipped in the wilderness. Bishop Ndanga, if you are a true spiritual leader, you should know that worshiping in the wilderness nurtures spiritual growth. Kana kunamata kwave kunzi vane mari chete, kana kuti vane mabank accounts and buildings then Satan awuya kuipa muZimbabwe. Jesus Christ and his disciples never had a bank account. Think twice and be reasonable.

Archbishop - 12 January 2014

Ndanga who ordained you to be a Bishop, I should believe uri wekwa Satan chete. When we asked the government to provide us with churches stands nobody listened and nothing materialise due to corruption in every government department. Now you would like to eat mari dzemapositori. Worshipping does not need a bank account mhani iwe. I would like to remind you Ndanga that Jesus Christ when he was in Gethsemane, He was in the wilderness. So what are you talking about you Ndanga munhu weZANU-PF think twice before you meet God's wrath.

Joseph - 12 January 2014

Ndanga iye akambokupaiyi chigaro ndiyani. Vakuru ngwarirayi kuti Satan akushanda nemamuri kuparadza chikirisitu. Ndovimba muri kunzwa nezvechiSatanisiti chavekutonga mazuva ano. Kunamata haisimari makuda kutiisa kumachechi emazuvaano anoparidza mari.

Kuzadziswa kwemagwaro - 12 January 2014

In Zimbabwean costitution there is Freedom of worship clause. the clause did not specify where the church should be contacted. So if the so called Ndanga and his group think they can change the constitution of Zimbabwe by mere resolutions from a clique of people behaving as bishops, its a fallacy.

splendour - 13 January 2014

Ndanga was not ordained legally and he simply imposed himself.He is part of the disorder and operating illegally.

Bystander Martin - 13 January 2014

Mr Ndanga do you know how satanism is entering this country thats the way yu hve allowed urself to walk thru hanzi mukaona chikara chamira panzvimbo tsvene moziva kuti kuguma kwavapo in the book of Matthew ,so mavakutinamatisa chikara kana mukati izvozvo zviitwe

hjb - 13 January 2014

mashoterwa nemari yechegumi plus flamboyancy vana Ndanga come hail come sunshine I will never be a Pentecostal, full of adulters and evil worshippers, hezvo vamwe vari mujeri nekunamata satan, to hell

tindo - 13 January 2014

Iye Ndanga ambori bishop wechurch yani? Tinozviziva church dzepanze dzinotungamirwa nemweya kwete nemunhu. Ndanga uri mharadzi

madzibaba soneni - 13 January 2014

i think this infringes religious liberty which is a right of every Zimbabweans as endorsed by our constitution. so this move if it is tolerated, it will see the ban of many churches. I say CHURCH AND STATE MUST NOT UNITE. No power must have whatever to say over who is to worship who ,where and when

mdmoyo - 19 June 2014

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