Mapostori call for dedicated schools

HARARE - Union for Development of Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe (Udaciza) claims the provision of more boarding schools dedicated to apostolic children would help reduce human rights violations within member churches, through increased uptake of advanced education.

Udaciza secretary-general, Edson Tsvakai said the establishment of apostolic-friendly educational institutions would eradicate despised practices within some apostolic churches.

“There are quite significant levels of skepticism on sending apostolic children to boarding schools owned by mainstream churches.

“The limited number of children who have been there have converted to other churches as they adopted the religious practices of schools they attended,” Tsvakai told a Gender-Based Violence (GBV) conscientisation meeting in Guruve on Tuesday.

He added, “It is sad that most followers are instead withdrawing their children once they have completed grade seven, no matter how bright they are.

“The next thing is they are married because that is what they have to do and then the vicious cycle of poverty synonymous with Mapostori continues”.

“We missed the chance but there are many who now believe our children can help us change the future. We need schools whose religious practices are in line with our church doctrines. We want to appeal to members, government and partners to help us eradicate early marriages, non-development, maternal deaths and unsustainable polygamous tendencies,” he said.

The apostolic movement constitutes 33 percent of the Christian population in Zimbabwe of which  80 percent of the country’s 13 million Zimbabweans are said to be Christian.

Udaciza says although institutions such as  Saint Noah and Mutendi High School exists as an option for apostolic children, the sect believes they are inadequate.

Educationist David Coltart said, “It is every person’s and Church’s right in terms of sections 60(3) and 75(2) of the Constitution to establish educational institutions, including boarding schools, to educate children in accordance with particular religious beliefs, subject of course, to reasonable standards being maintained and other Zimbabwean laws being respected. So Udaciza has every right to establish as many boarding schools as they like.

“However, whilst boarding schools may help combat these abuses, they will not stop them altogether until the root of the problem is addressed,” he added.

Recently Udaciza, which is a union for 450 apostolic and Zionist churches, came up with a three-year “Apostolic Strategic Plan” running until 2016, seeking to address educational, health-related and other ills which have left followers, poor and scorned.

Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development officer, Taishuva Zhou said government will not hesitate to apprehend those found violating laws guaranteeing human rights.

“As churches you should ensure that your laws are not in contradiction with the supreme law —  lest we arrest you for keeping your child out of school.

“If you marry an under-age or deprive any one of your 10 wives equal conjugal rights, those become offenses,” she said while dispelling the notion that gender means women.

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