10383950_637518222992318_1086096894271456773_nThe Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) will continue to watch the activities of the Johanne Masowe eChishanu apostolic sect in Budiriro to make sure children’s and women’s rights are protected.

ACCZ president Johannes Ndanga told The Zimbabwe Mail in an interview that they were aware the apostolic sect had returned to the shrine which turned into a war zone in May following a botched ban that resulted in the injury of a journalist, an ACCZ elder and five police officers.

Violence broke out on May 30 after Ndanga led a delegation in a bid to ban the sect on allegations there were children’s and women’s rights violations at the shrine.

In response, male members of the sect attacked Ndanga and his entourage while resisting the ban. More than 30 members of the sect are currently on trial over the incident.

Some of the apostolic sect members have claimed they are being persecuted after they rebuffed Ndanga’s overtures for support in Zanu PF’s acrimonious leadership fight for succession ahead
of an elective congress late this year.

Ndanga has poured cold water on the claims and insisted that he could not watch while the rights of the weak in society were being violated.

He said the re-integration of the sect had begun in earnest.

“We are trying to integrate them into mainstream society. We have no problem with them going back to the shrine because the ban was initially meant of 21 days. It was not a lifetime ban. We need to reach out to them and make sure they uphold rights of children who were being abused and denied access to education,” said Ndanga.

“We were also trying to knock sense into them so that they see the light and the folly of their ways. They must allow children to attend school and women to be treated in hospital(s)”.

Ndanga said following the ban, there were consultations and a decision to allow the sect to return had been reached.

“We realised we need to keep an eye on them and the only way was to have them go back to their worshiping place because it would have been difficult to watch them while they are scattered,” said Ndanga.

Vapostori attacking Cops in Budiriro (photo: Newsday)

Vapostori attacking Cops in Budiriro (photo: Newsday)

“We need to be cognisant of the freedom of worship but I must say it is not a licence for idiosyncrasy. These people need to be engaged so that they see sense. The issue of violence is being dealt with by the relevant authorities. It does not make sense to us that the media seems to have chosen to support the abuse of women and children.

“There were gut-wrenching rituals that went on there that we have not told people about and that needs to end, to be stopped somehow.”

Most apostolic sects in Zimbabwe do not allow their members to access education and other social services, such as health, arguing they are “heathen methods” that are against God’s laws and defile “Christians”.

This has led to the unnecessary deaths of children  and mainly expecting mothers who have been subjected to crude methods of child births, according to Ndanga.