THE fight over “Hambakuk” Church in Guruve has taken a new twist with the new church leader of the apostolic sect Dishon Gomo accused of tampering with the graveyard of the family of the founder of the organisation.
The Mapira family, which lost the battle for the control of the church in the courts to Gomo, alleged that the new church leader renovated the family shrine without their consent.
Among the graves Gomo is said to have renovated include that of the founder of the church Morris Habakkuk, Neddy Chiguya Mapira, wife to the church founder, Ezekiel Mapira (church president) Plaxedes Mubaiwa (Ezekiel’s wife), Peggy Mapira and Verse Gomo, Dishon’s father among others.
The family said it has since written to the Apostolic Christian Churches of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) president Johannes Ndanga to address the matter as they suspected Gomo and his members might have tampered with the graves.
Secretary to the local headman Admire Mapira said that his family was being denied access to the graves of their late father and founder of the church, their mother and other relatives.
“They came and dug the graves without our knowledge and consent as a family. We now don’t know what was the motive and whether this is Satanism or not,” Mapira said.
“As a family we are not happy. We reported the matter to the headman and the chief who are now handling it. The police said it was a cultural matter that needed traditional leaders to deal with. When they dug and built the graves up, there was no relative invited and up to now, we have been blocked from the graveyard. There is a security guard who is always there to stop family members from going there.”
He said it was surprising that Gomo was doing this to the Mapira family as he was not in any way related to them.
The family said they were shocked that even Ndanga, to whom they had made a report for him to look into the matter had graced the occasion together with war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda.
But Gomo said that the Mapira family was not being honest saying they had relatives to represent them at the function and accused them of wanting to personalise the church.
Gomo said he was a close friend of the Mapiras, but was against their personalisation of the church whose battle to control he won in the courts.
“We went to court and we won the case and we are now starting renovations. We saw it fit to renovate our forefathers’ place and we took the Heroes’ Acre concept as a sign of honouring our leaders who passed away,” Gomo said.
“We renovated only the outside part without opening the graves. Everyone was there and people appreciated that and now they are jealous because they think leadership runs in their family. They want to control the place yet the place belongs to the church. A lot of people are buried there; it was not a family shrine. Even my father was buried there. All prophets are buried there. They are claiming it’s a family thing but they are not following the constitution.”
He said they had invited Labour minister, Nicholas Goche who was not able to come but instead sent Sibanda to represent him.
Gomo said about nine different family members were buried at the shrine.
“Their aunt Stally Angeline Gwanyamwanya was there when this was happening and it means the church was represented,” Gomo said.
However, leader of rival church Malvern Mapira said they were surprised over Gomo’s sudden interests on the graves of their family elders saying he could not attend their funerals. The Mapira family said it was now under fire from the families of their in-laws buried at the shrine who were now demanding compensation and that their relatives’ graves be built in their presence.