POLICE on Saturday dispersed more than 5 000 members of the Johane Marange Apostolic Church who had gathered on the outskirts of Masvingo for their annual Passover ceremony.
Their leader, Mr Karifinosi Mashanda shocked the authorities when he appealed to the provincial Covid-19 taskforce team to allow them to have Holy Communion before dispersing.
“While we are not against what the authorities want us to do, we are just requesting to have our Holy Communion as per the tradition of our church then we can go back home,” said Mr Mashanda.
The taskforce declined the request saying it would be illegal for them to do so since a gathering of more than 50 people was outlawed under Covid-19 control regulations.
Taskforce spokesperson Mr Rodgers Irimai yesterday praised the sect members for being co-operative as some immediately left after being advised that the gathering was illegal.
“We had fruitful discussions with the sect leaders on Saturday morning and members immediately started dispersing after we told them that a gathering of more than 50 was unlawful.
“They were very cooperative although they wanted to be allowed to have their Holy Communion, which is cause was not possible.”
Mr Irimai allayed fears the sect members would be stranded by the roadside.
“We are not going to assist them with transport because they told us they had made prior transport arrangements before coming for their Passover,”he said.
The taskforce expected all the sect members to have returned to their homes by today, the day when the majority had pre-booked transport back home.
Source: State Media