Ndanga warns Apos­tolic sects over child mar­riages

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Whins­ley Masara Chronicle Re­porter

THE pres­i­dent of the Apos­tolic Chris­tian Coun­cil of Zim­babwe (ACCZ), Arch­bishop Jo­hannes Ndanga, said the or­gan­i­sa­tion will not pro­tect any­one found guilty of pro­mot­ing or en­gag­ing in child mar­riages us­ing church be­liefs.

Apos­tolic sects are ac­cused of be­ing breed­ing grounds for child mo­lesters. The Jo­hane Marange sect is known for bar­ring mem­bers from seek­ing med­i­cal at­ten­tion for any ail­ment.

Arch­bishop Ndanga lam­basted prophets from the sect who take ad­van­tage of con­gre­gants’ be­lief that they are anointed by God, to force mi­nors to sub­mit to sex­ual abuse.

“Those who want to have vi­sions or dreams of which woman they should marry should dream of sin­gle moth­ers, wid­ows and not young girls. Why do they only dream of young girls? Why do they never dream of older, wid­owed women and or sin­gle moth­ers?” asked Arch­bishop Ndanga.

Speak­ing in Bu­l­awayo at a health walk that was held on Satur­day, he said the church was to­tally be­hind pro­posed amend­ments to the Mar­riage Act that will make it il­le­gal to marry a per­son be­low the age of 18.

Arch­bishop Ndanga said there are hun­dreds of women out there who want to be mar­ried and men should tar­get them, in­stead of young girls.

The Arch­bishop said the church was out to dis­pel the myth that apos­tolic sects preyed on chil­dren for sex.

“We are say­ing a young girl is not yet ripe for mar­riage and so should not have her life ru­ined by a self­ish man who claims to have had a di­vine vi­sion that he should marry her.

“Ac­cord­ing to Gen­e­sis 2 verse 18, God says it is not proper for a man to live alone adding ‘I will find a helper who is suit­able for thee.’”

The word ‘suit­able,’ he said, should be noted be­cause sleep­ing with a young girl is dam­ag­ing her and it is “as good as eat­ing a raw mango.”

He said: “We fully sup­port the judge­ment that was set by the ju­di­ciary be­cause it is in full sup­port of the girl child’s rights. It em­pow­ers the sys­tem to deal with such peo­ple and we won’t cover up for any­one caught in this act.

“We won’t al­low any­one to use or hide un­der church be­liefs. We will as­sist in ev­ery way to en­sure the law brings per­verts who hide be­hind re­li­gion, to book. We are ac­tu­ally help­ing by hand­ing over such peo­ple to the po­lice.”

The ACCZ pres­i­dent said since the church adopted zero tol­er­ance to­wards child mar­riages and sex­ual abuse of mi­nors, there has been a de­crease in child mar­riages within apos­tolic sects.

“To curb child mar­riages, we have opened Gen­der and Child Care Unit desks through­out the coun­try which look out for such mat­ters, help­ing in ap­pre­hend­ing any­one found guilty.

“We are yet to go around ad­dress­ing all churches un­der our coun­cil, warn­ing them that any­one dis­cov­ered to have mar­ried a child, will suf­fer the con­se­quences,” he said.

He said the church had changed its stance on hos­pi­tals and en­cour­aged mem­bers to seek med­i­cal at­ten­tion, es­pe­cially when giv­ing birth.

In Zim­babwe, 610 women out of ev­ery 100 000 die while giv­ing birth, with a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of the deaths at­trib­uted to apos­tolic sects that did not be­lieve in hospi­tal de­liv­ery.

Early this year, a Jo­hane Marange Apos­tolic Sect mem­ber from Gutu in Masvingo prov­ince nearly killed his preg­nant wife when he al­legedly en­larged her birth canal us­ing a home-made knife when she went into labour.

She was forcibly rushed to the clinic by a team of vil­lage health work­ers as her hus­band’s sect does not al­low mem­bers to seek treat­ment at health in­sti­tu­tions.

“Look­ing at Jo­hane Marange, there has been an im­prove­ment on the chil­dren’s right to health. They are now get­ting their chil­dren vac­ci­nated in hos­pi­tals and clin­ics. You can con­firm that with the Min­istry of Health and Child Care. We are look­ing for­ward to putting a to­tal end to child mar­riages con­sid­er­ing that our church sects are known for this rot,” he said.

The Rev­e­la­tion Church of God or­gan­ised the event, which started at Ha­mara near Basch Street Ter­mi­nus and ended at Cres­cent Sports Club in Parkview sub­urb.

It was held un­der the theme: “Pro­mot­ing health, well­ness and fit­ness”, and it recog­nises the im­por­tance of pro­vid­ing good health for the world. — @win­nie_­masara

Arch­bishop Jo­hannes Ndanga

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.