BY CLAYTON MASEKESA
MUTARE – Popular prophet and leader of Johane The Fifth of Africa International Church, Andby Makururu, is seeking a one on one meeting with Noah Taguta the leader of Johana Marange Apostolic Church over rampant child marriages within his big sect.
Makururu’s calls for dialogue with Taguta comes after some disturbing reports of a 14-year-old girl – Memory Machaya – who died recently while giving birth at the church’s shrine in Bocha in Marange area.
The mother, Shylett Mabika was allegedly denied access to her when she was giving birth and after she died, was also denied access to her burial.
The girl was allegedly denied medical assistance by leaders of the apostolic sect because of their church beliefs that bars them from receiving any medication.
She finally succumbed to complications from the incident.
The alleged perpetrator, Evans Momberume, has not been arrested yet because the matter was not reported to police.
She had given birth to a baby boy.
The issue has triggered a wave of anger among citizens and girl child movements who are demanding an in-depth investigation.
In an interview with this publication on Tuesday, Makururu who is a child rights defender said it imperative for some churches to support child rights.
“It is very important that l should meet and talk with the Bishop of that church (Noah Taguta) so that we can discuss this important issue,” said Makururu.
“My church is complementing government’s efforts in fighting child marriages. I want to meet the leader of the church because he is the one who is able to control the members from his church,” said the popular prophet.
Makururu said Taguta was the only person who can change the church’s doctrine regarding child marriages in his church.
“He is the only responsible person who can change the doctrine of the church,” he said.
The practice is rampant among the various sects of the Johane Marange Apostolic Church.
Under Zimbabwean law, the age of consent for sex is 16, and minimum age for marriage 18.
Makururu known as Madzibaba Andby is a religious figure and founder of the Johane The Fifth of Africa International Church and Ruvheneko Rwenyenyedzi Trust.
Madzibaba Andby’s church and Trust are headquartered in Mutare and has numerous branches in the SADC region (Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, and Zambia) and in the United Kingdom in Nottingham.