MUSHROOMING apostolic sects that have literally invaded all open spaces in the high-density suburbs of Mbizo and Amaveni in Kwekwe are a potential health hazard and should be dealt with, the local authority has said.
Kwekwe mayor Matenda Madzoke told NewsDay yesterday that his council was looking at ways of removing churches worshipping in the open and bring them to clean environments with running water because their continued services in the bush were a health time bomb for the city.
“They are a health time bomb because in those bushes they have no toilets and therefore use the bush to relieve themselves and in the absence of portable running water, most are forced to fetch water from contaminated sources,” said Madzoke.
“Let me say we are not against apostolic churches because our Constitution guarantees freedom of worship and we will not be banning any form of worship but basically calling them out of those bushes and asking them to restore self-dignity by using facilities that have toilets and running water.”
He singled out the Madzibaba Benson sect, which became famous following a gold rush that gripped Kwekwe early last year after having been predicted at the church, as an example.
He said sick people flocked to the church based at a bush in Mbizo 16 and since there are no toilets, they are forced to use the bush spreading their diseases to whoever uses those areas.
“We want to give them stands in serviced areas; allow them to use stadiums if it’s the open space they want so that their sick don’t spread disease to other people through open defecation in an urban area,” said Madzoke.
Richard Mahombe, a member of Madzibaba Benson sect, said they had responded to calls of the local authority by building pit latrines which sect members were using instead of the bush.
“We have a right to worship our God in the bush because that is where we meet his spirit; the issue of health has already been taken care of because we have built blair toilets at our shrines,” Mahombe said.
However, Madzoke said council would not accept those toilets saying they contaminated underground water and would be demolished.
“We are sinking boreholes and they want to dig blair toilets; that’s unacceptable. We just want them to restore the dignity of women and children; surely your mother can’t be forced to squat in the bush because she is at church,” he said.