By Watmore Makokoba
The sun has finally dawned in the fight against child marriages, child and woman abuse as apostolic Churches under the Apostolic Christian Council (ACCZ) have come on board into the human rights chariot by registering commitment towards the cause.
During the just ended ACCZ Annual Bishops Conference held in Harare last week, attended by more than 200 bishops and several thousands of congregates, the attendees which composed of white garments churches where immensed in total the agreement regarding incorporating and prioritising shunning the abuse of woman which include rape, doctrine that induce marriage of miners under the majority age (18 years) and premature school drop-outs.
Among the congregates where members of Jekinshen, Zion Christian Churches (ZCC), Bethsaida, Johanne Masowe Echishanu, Original International Apostolic Church, St John’s Apostolic Church, Revelation Church (SA) and several other local and regional churches .
Speaking during the international Bishops Conference, Bishop Ndanga, and the President of ACCZ said it was now high time for church to take a leading role and show by example in the upholding and valuing human life by, fighting against human rights abuses.
“The Church must take the custodianship of safeguarding the rights of women ,children and fundamental human rights, reports of church leaders who take advantage of congregates to violate their rights is not in sync with church doctrine”, said Dr Ndanga.
The outgoing Minister of Gender and Woman Affairs Oppah Muchinguri has on several occasions implored the church to be at the fore front in upholding the rights of woman and children.
During one of the discussion events with 263Chat, Hon Muchinguri castigated church leaders who act contrary to their calling by indulging in derogatory behavior such as rape, depriving children the right to education and access to health facilities.
“People go to church as a place for refuge and hope, ironically the likes of Martin Gumbura and Madzibaba Ishmael do not exhibit the custodianship and shepherding the church leaders is mandated to be “she said.
Martin Gumbura founder and leader of End Times Church is currently serving a 40 year term for several offences which including rape, child and women abuse.
On the same note Madzibaba Ishmael is on the run after his church has been alleged to be violating the rights of children and woman while 11 of his sect members are serving a five year jail term for assaulting police officers in a somewhat bizarre instance that puzzled many. He is said to have been admonishing his congregates to abandon the acquiring of identify documents, ordering man to resign from work.
A 15 year old girl emotionally testified before the conference delegates how she was ordered by the sect to stop going to school because she is said to have been mature enough for marriage.
“I stopped going to school while doing form 1 in 2012 because my father told me that I was ready for marriage, I don’t want to be married ,it is against my will and I want to go back to school” , she said ,with eyes full of tears.
Meanwhile, ACCZ is working with the Ministry of Social Welfare to facilitate education to disadvantaged children of member churches. Some apostolic churches (Vapostori) are known for certain doctrines that do not promote education and access to health facilities.