Members of the Vapostori worshiping at a shrine in Harare ( photo: M. Chibaya)

Members of the Vapostori worshiping at a shrine in Harare ( photo: M. Chibaya)

The Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) has parted ways with former Vice-President Joice Mujuru who was their patron following her dismissal on Tuesday by President Robert Mugabe, who accused her of plotting to assassinate him, among other charges.

ACCZ is a body that governs more than 700 apostolic sects in the country.

Speaking to The Zimbabwe Mail on Wednesday ahead of the annual three-day Bishops’ Conference which kicks off in Harare tomorrow, ACCZ president Johannes Ndanga said the apostolic body had cut ties with Mujuru as she was no longer an authority and was also facing serious crimes.

“The patron’s appointment is done to someone who will be representing the president because he is the one who the Holy Spirit through Johanne Masowe in 1934 said will lead the nation,’’ said Ndanga.

“So when former VP was the patron, she was representing President Mugabe, so it is now impossible for her to remain as our patron. The new VP will automatically become our patron. If he is not able to lead us then another senior person assigned will do so.”

Ndanga has for a long time been perceived as a Mujuru ally and was said to be harbouring vice-presidential ambitions in the event that Mujuru took over power.

Meanwhile, according to Ndanga, the First Lady and new women’s league boss, Grace Mugabe and Women Affairs minister Oppah Muchinguri, are expected to grace the conference that would also see a number of bishops being ordained.

About 500 bishops from around the continent are set to attend the event that is meant to tackle women and child abuse cases in Africa.

Ndanga, who is co-ordinating the conference, said the gathering would educate and conscientise the bishops on human rights abuses.

“I was invited to Malawi by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) where there was a conference on social ills against women and children. I delivered the speech and my invite there was based on the issue of how ACCZ is championing women and children’s rights in the country.

“So it is from there that a number of Christian organisations agreed to have a conference to deal with the issues, chief among them, ending child marriages in the region,” he said.

Zimbabwe is adjudged one of the 41 countries in the world with an unacceptable rate of child marriages.

According to a 2012 report based on data collected by UNFPA during the years 2000 to 2011, the country’s prevalence of child marriages was at 31% and was among 41 nations with the highest rates of child marriages.

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