Vapositori not above the law

HARARE - Following last week’s thrashing of anti-riot police in Budiriro 2 by members of an apostolic sect, questions have been raised over the audacity of the men in white robes in attacking law enforcers.

Members of the Johanne Masowe weChishanu sect led by Madzibaba Ishamea Mufani ran amok on Friday, beating up police, journalists and leadership of Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ).

The attack came after Johannes Ndanga, the ACCZ president, had banned the church for child and women abuses as well as outlawing a plethora of ordinary activities and ownership of property by its members.

This is not the first time that members of an apostolic sect have attacked the police as former leader of another faction of the Johanne Masowe sect, Lawrence Katsiru in 2011 tore into law enforcement agents, shouted obscenities describing them as the police commissioner-general’s dogs.

The incident occurred at Ruzawi service station where police officers tried to arrest Katsiru for parking his car at an undesignated area.

The incensed Katsiru then shouted at policemen calling them street kids and dogs struggling to make ends meet.

The attack on law enforcers by members of the apostolic sect has raised questions as to where the white-robed “men of God” get the guts to attack policemen.

The country’s police force is one of the most feared institutions in the country because of its heavy handedness — real or imagined — when dealing with civilians.

Members of the public have thus suggested that apostolic sects feel an aura of invincibility and that they are above the law because they are highly linked to President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF.

In the run up to elections, Mugabe always makes it a point to visit vapositori such as Johanne Marange in Manicaland at their shrines clad in their white robes to canvass for support.

Vapositori have been bussed to national events, including heroes’ burials where they shower praises on Mugabe and Zanu PF.

But religious analysts say the fact that vapositori are politically connected is not a licence to disobey the country’s laws with some attributing their unruly behaviour to the work of the devil.

“The politicians that they associate with are law-abiding citizens who would never disrespect the police and one would expect vapositori to lead by example if they are genuine Christians but, unfortunately, modern day apostles are not chosen by God,” said head of New life Pentecostal Church, Bishop Benjamin Murata.

Another religious commentator, Bishop Ishamel Mukuwanda of the Anglican Church, said the lack of discipline exhibited by vapositori was because the origins of their faith are untraceable hence their actions are ungodly.

Mukuwanda who is also president of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches added that there could be deeper issues that need to be unearthed to explain their bravado in assaulting the police.

“The mere presence of the police where church matters are discussed shows that there are underlying reasons they behaved that way,” said Mukuwanda, adding that under normal circumstances, there would be no need for police presence saying the law enforcers  anticipated violence — showing that they were aware of the issues at hand.

He, however, said the problem with vapositori leaders lay in the fact that they claim divine providence without anyone bothering to discern their authenticity.

“The line that separates the Holy Spirit from the evil one is razor thin and in cases where someone just wakes up telling people that he has been chosen by God, it will be difficult to bring them under the law,” he said.

Reverend John Museve of the Independent African Church (Muchakata) however, blamed Ndanga for seeking to regulate a church that is not affiliated to ACCZ.

“While their conduct should be condemned in the strongest terms, the ACCZ erred and should have let the law of the land take precedence as it is emerging that the sect is not affiliated to it,” Museve said.

Meanwhile, the ACCZ president has defended his move to ban the church, saying his decisions had been endorsed by the country’s leaders.

“We derive our power from the leaders of this country but we cannot wait for politicians while things go out of hand.  We had to act,” Ndanga said.

“There is disorder in the apostolic sect because we have Johanne Masowe in our register as affiliated to ACCZ. It looks like there are several factions within the church who go by the same name so when we engaged them, we believed they were part of us. It is this disorder that we think is causing all these problems.”

It has however, been argued by members of the public that Ndanga’s decision to ban Madzibaba was hypocritical when one of ACCZ’s affiliates, the Johanne Marange sect, was known for indulging in the same harmful practices.

But Ndanga defended them saying; “Johanne Marange used to do that but they are gradually complying.
They have built a beautiful school at their shrine for their children and most of them now immunise children.

“What we want is to deal with people who listen but this Ishamea is just stubborn. We have summoned him before but he does not seem to listen.”

Comments (7)

so you questioning the vapostori's fearlessness, meaning people should be fearful and not stand for what they believe in when faced with adversity?

myopia - 5 June 2014

They are not above the law but ask yourself before you write kuti which law. So a policeman is allowed to walk into your house with a thug and beat you up because the thug happens to be in league with the police and you accept that? Ndanga is lying that the Mapositori of Marange are gradually changing by whose standard?

wamaromo - 5 June 2014

This is a poorly authored and biased article. Some Boarder Gezi journalism? It ignores completely the fact that the VaPostori were attacked at their place of worship. They were defending themselves. To the journalists I say give a balanced analysis or go and join the Herald!

Kondo - 5 June 2014

i think mr Ndanga was supposed to call the entire leadership at his office if he has one,and dicussed wayforwad issues not visiting the vapositori sect accompanied by journalists and riot police that if his mission was a constructive one.As for now i think the best solution is for him and vapostori to agree on their disagreement

rodwell chikwaka - 5 June 2014

Even if they were provoked their leadership was supposed to face the police and Ndanga than to let everyone speak diplomacy always cools the temper. Ukatorerwa hembe kurukova uchigeza rotiza nadzo owe wotanga kuritandanisa vanhu vanoti kudii ?

mutendi - 6 June 2014

the stupid part of the report is that you can not differentiate the various groups of vapostori, you want to treat them as one, why did you not mention that Mugabe goes to the catholic as well? This point out that the editorial was written by an mdc idiot, who is clueless to almost everything about Zimbabwe.

reason - 6 June 2014

A lot of people thinks if one is wearing a church regalia that makes him a Christian.Its far from that and CHRIST said 'By their fruits you shall know them' not 'By their uniforms or garments you shall know them'.These vapositori took Law and wanted to chew it and they shall see that Law is stubborn like a Nut and cannot be chewed.Anyone called a Christian cannot behave like that and at the first place if they were true christians and if their doctrine was Christianity God was going to prevent Ndanga and crew to come to the shrine.Its clear that its not sacred because its a place of violent and high tempered people which is not a quality of a Christian.

CHRISTIAN - 7 June 2014

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