Apostolic sect churches have objected plans by Harare City Council to control open spaces where they worship in the city’s proposed 2015 by-laws.
The apostolic sect churches are breathing fire and questioning why they were being targeted for “harassment”, while night clubs were being left out.
Twenty-two objections were made by the groups, including Johane Masowe Chishanu, Central Apostolic Church, Ebenezer Holy Church and the Council of Apostolic Churches of Zimbabwe, among others.
Part of the objections raised by the apostolic sects was a question on why they were being targeted for “harassment” by council over noise pollution yet nothing was being done to night clubs and beer outlets.
They also argued the proposed by-laws would infringe on their freedom of worship, given the time restrictions.
According to council’s environmental management committee, the objections were similar from all the said churches.
“Among the objections were the lack of stakeholder consultation and that it was not fair to single out churches, yet night clubs, bars and others contributed to noise pollution,” the minutes read.
“The restriction of time (10am to 6pm) infringed upon the freedom of assembly.”
Council, however, resolved to consider the objections and the proposed by-laws.
The city said it was vital that the by-laws should state clearly that temporary toilets are clearly defined as a “portable toilet or a water-borne system toilet connected to a septic tank” so that churches do not construct blair toilets at their places of worship.
On the issue that council was only targeting apostolic churches on the by-law, the committee said they were in the process of enacting noise by-laws which would regulate noise decibels in other gatherings like public meetings, weddings and road shows, among others.