The Herald (Harare)

31 May 2014

Zimbabwe: Apostolic Sect Accused of Causing Disharmony

The apostolic sect that turned violent in Harare yesterday was being accused of practising a doctrine called "recovery" in which women who got married when they were no longer virgins were asked to offer young virgins to their husbands to "appease" them. The Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe wanted to ban the apostolic sect for many other alleged malpractices.

According to a "judgment" issued by the ACCZ's Legal, Peace, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, the sect - led by Ishmael Mufano - had barred more than 400 children from attending school.

"ACCZ sent an investigating team to find out the effect of this (recovery) doctrine to the church members and gathered information that some of the church members have since relocated their children to safety in fear of them being victims of 'operation recovery'," read the judgment.

"The above doctrine has caused untold disharmony in that other family members and members of the society who do not fall under this cult do not approve of this because it lacks logic, therefore, this panel feels that powers that be should take corrective measures."

The sect was also accused of denying members access to cellphones, watching television and reading newspapers.

There were allegations of physical abuse of women.

ACCZ said pregnant women were not allowed to get conventional medical attention, with the sect using its own untrained midwives instead.

Another allegation was that the sect forced its members to sell all property in order for them "to enter Canaan".

Mufani did not attend the hearing, but summons were allegedly served on his wife. The two-member panel on the hearing accused sect leaders of being greedy and "moulding renegades and would-be bandits".

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