Church leaders slam Masowe violence

HARARE - Zimbabwean church leaders have slammed the deadly violence that broke out in Budiriro between members of Johanne Masowe weChishanu Madzibaba Ishamea Mufani’s sect, Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) officials and the police.

The Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD), comprising of leaders from the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference, The Zimbabwe Council of Churches and the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, said it was saddening that those involved in the violence belong to a church which is meant to be an instrument of healing, reconciliation and peace.
At least 24 members of the sect have appeared in court on charges of assaulting police officers and journalists.

The violence broke out two weeks ago after ACCZ president Johannes Ndanga — who was in the company of about 20 anti-riot police officers — told about 300 Johanne Masowe apostolic sect members that he had banned the church for abuse of women and girls among other things.

The members were congregated at their sacred shrine in the high density suburb of Budiriro 2 in Harare when Ndanga addressed them, triggering violence that saw three police officers seriously injured while three others escaped with minor injuries.

A ZBC photographer, who tried to film the event, was also clobbered by the marauding vapositori using their shepherd’s crooks.

Windows of a ZBC van were also smashed in the stand-off. Lameck Chitope, ACCZ Harare provincial chairman, was bludgeoned on the head with a shepherd’s crook and sustained serious injuries.

Journalists and ACCZ members had to take refuge at Budiriro 2 Police Station as the agitated Vapositori bayed for their blood.

Police then launched revenge attacks, enlisting Zanu PF youths to burn down the shrine while police prowled for the sect leaders.

ZHOCD said it “expressed disapproval of the violence perpetrated by some politically-affiliated youths in the presence of police officers.”

“It is disturbing that the ZRP ‘escorted’ and witnessed these youths raid and burn the Vapositori shrine in clear violation of the law,” the church leaders said in a statement.

“The Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations condemns unreservedly any and all acts of violence or processes that may trigger violence from any and whatever quarter. That this incidence involves church-related processes makes it more reprehensible and cannot be justified in any way. Clearly, the Constitution of Zimbabwe guarantees freedoms of worship, conscience and association and these should be guaranteed and protected and not used in the infringement of the law and the perpetration of violence or the denudation of other citizens’ rights.”

ZHOCD expressed concern that members of the police-force and ACCZ were subjected to a violent reaction after addressing the Johanne Masowe weChishanu sect.

“Whilst condemning the violence by the worshippers, the ZHOCD feels that this could have been avoided if the leadership of the church in question had been engaged in a process to deal with matters of concern in a less confrontational and more interactive manner,” ZHOCD said in the statement.

“When passionately held beliefs are forcibly confronted, it often results in levels of intolerance and conflict that are being witnessed in other parts of the world. The exercise of wisdom, prudence, peaceful dialogue and engagement could have better served the purposes of peace and persuasion of hearts and mind to adopt better expressions of their faith. This is particularly so, because the Johanne Masowe sects, including the Madzibaba Ishamea Mufani sect have held these beliefs before independence and had never suffered the political or legal censure of those who are purportedly represented in this crackdown that resulted in violence.”

The church leaders said authorities had previously acknowledged and participated in Johanne Masowe weChishanu sect’s religious activities without condemnation.
“Wisdom and peace would have called for a different and more circumspect approach that would have avoided confrontation and the possibility of widespread violence,” the church leaders’ statement said.

“Whilst police are fully authorised to deal with any and all kinds of breach of law and even violence, their conduct must be prudent, measured and circumspect.

“The authorities must seek to use only those structures and only those methods that will not escalate confrontation and violence in the current context we find ourselves in.”

The ZHOCD also questioned Ndanga’s authority, which he claims reportedly derives from the president’s office.
“Those persons who claim to be authorised from the highest offices must be authorised through a constitutional and officially legitimate government act, ministry or department that is publicly known and accountable,” the ZHOCD statement said.

“The unilateral imposition of regulation, representatives and processes without consultation with the church or citizens will lead to unfortunate and unintended consequences, such as the Budiriro outbreak of violence.

“The church and every citizen of Zimbabwe must actually participate in ending the culture of aggression and violence that has become so endemic in our nation.”

ZHOCD said police must enforce the law without fear or favour but in a circumspect and judicious manner, lending themselves to the strengthening of peaceful engagement rather than confrontation.

“We urge citizens of Zimbabwe to exercise their God-given constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms of worship, conscience and association in a peaceful, dignified and worthy manner whilst exercising caution and scrutiny in choosing churches and church affiliation,” the church leaders’ statement said.Church leaders slam Masowe violence

Comments (6)

Well said. I totally agree with you in this respect. Police was supposed to adopt a less confrontational root rather than provoking the leaders before their congregation. If Ndanga has the Spirit of God why did he provoke people like this?

Thomas Nyika - 12 June 2014

These Church Leaders should condemn Ndanga's methodologies other than the Mapostori. Ndanga should be interrogated by these bodies to establish his modus operandi. We fade up of corrupt Ndanga and crew. The man is heartless and devilish. Look what he did to Gumbura and his family, let alone the Church. Ndanga is devil incarnate too says, Cde RG Mugabe.

FOOOOOLLLLLS - 12 June 2014

Totally agreed. Is the President aware that Ndanga is moving around with the powers of the president? Did he really give Ndanga those powers.

Maita Manyuka - 12 June 2014

Ndanga is a fool,could i hav his cell,i could help him thru a wisper,look,what has he done with zion rababa Andreas,he gave Jameson bogus certificates against the late father's will and he thinks himself and his 50 followers are to be blessed with that.Mr President,may you help us,as Zimbabweans,to advice Mr Ndanga to panelbeat his approaches as i see him becoming "mhunzi inovava muZANU PF" very very soon,forgeting kuti this is the very place our president vakabvisa butsu nekufuga gloria rengirozi kumadzibaba towards elections.Please please may you help us by extra coaching Ndanga

ndanga-ndarohwa - 13 June 2014

VaNdanga can not fit to ban a church as long as he is a bishop of one church,so for him,he has t b either Bishop or ZANU PF

ndanga-ndarohwa - 13 June 2014

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