Ban noisy churches from suburbs

I think Zimbabwe should follow the Nigerian example and ban noisy churches from suburbs. These churches, in the name of Jesus as they claim, give residents a torrid time, especially at night when they play loud music and scream into microphones deliberately violating the law and residents’ right to a peaceful environment.

By Kamurai Mudzingwa

They have thrown the Golden Rule out of their church windows. The Golden Rule says “do unto others what you want them to do unto you” or something to that effect. So if you want your neighbour to let you have peace, you should also let him have his peace.

Give an unwise chap a microphone and he will scream into it and this is what the overzealous pastors and their misguided congregants do. In Lagos, the Environmental Protection Department did a good job by banning such selfish people, who think they are the only ones who inhabit this world. We have the Environment Management Agency in Zimbabwe, but it looks like the organisation is not aware that noise is another form of environmental pollution and is a serious health hazard.

A prophet attends to a client as other church members follow the proceeding near the Borrowdale racecourse recently

It is surprising that the organisation can sleep through all that noise judging by its inaction on issues concerning noise pollution. And it would be silly to assume that they are not aware of complaints against these rowdy elements that disturb others in the name of Jesus.

The law on public nuisance is quite clear. Section 46 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23) read together with paragraph 2(a) (iii), (m) and (v) of the Third Schedule makes it clear on the law on public nuisance.

Specifically, the law says:

Any person who (a) wantonly

(ii) makes any noise or disturbance or plays any musical instrument or wireless in a public place

(m) shouts or screams in a public place to the annoyance of the public

(v) employs any means whatsoever, which are likely materially to interfere with the ordinary comfort, convenience, peace or quiet of the public or any section of the public, or does any act, which is likely to create a nuisance or obstruction; shall be guilty of criminal nuisance.

Apart from breaking the law, these people’s conduct is at complete variance with the tenets of ubuntu and communalism supposedly represented by the Christian faith that they preach daily. The Jesus they purport to follow is on record in the Bible as having implored people to love their neighbours. Perhaps their show of love for their neighbours is by disturbing their peace. They seem not to understand that the church is in the community and not the other way round. When residents are quiet about the racket they cause, they should not take them for granted. As churches, they should encourage harmony. What kind of morality are they teaching their gullible followers? Are they teaching them that as long as you profess to be doing something on behalf of the Christian God, you can trample on anyone’s and everyone’s rights? They should understand that not everyone belongs to their noisy churches and that not everyone wants to be a Christian — it is their right.

The arrogant pastors and their members have the false notion that it is their God-given right to ensure that the moment they start their services, everything else in their neighbourhoods should come to a standstill. They are the self-appointed little gods.

Whoever equated noise with prayer has made peace-loving residents miserable. And these noisemakers have the false belief that everyone is ignorant of the law and their rights. We know that there is competition to win as many people as possible to their churches for material gain, but this should not affect everyone. The whole idea of the loud noise is to attract people miles away. Why should 50 people cause hell by making noise for thousands who want peace? If this is the Christian spirit, then I wonder if it is a spirit from “heaven” or a spirit from “hell”.

The irony is lost on them that while they are busy castigating the devil in their amplified voices, they would be playing the devil in the process.

Households have students who want to study, sick people who need a serene environment, workers who want to rest before they return to work and old people who want to rest, among others. But men and women, who call themselves Christians with amplified microphones, ignore that. They think they are not only super human, but are above the law.

Some of these misguided elements even turn their homes into churches blasting music and screaming into microphones throughout the night. Sometimes I wonder if these people are really sane. Do they think their neighbours enjoy that? Is Christianity so intoxicating that one can forget the needs and rights of one’s neighbours? Ask such misguided elements why they make so much noise and they will tell you it is their right to worship. They take their right to worship as their right (which does not exist) to make noise for others. Even primary schoolchildren know that noise is not good for others.

Try talking sense into such people and they accuse you of being the devil or they will tell you that they are in their premises. They think if councils give them a 500m² area or so for worship they would have been given the whole suburb to abuse. They do not understand the meaning of boundaries; they think boundaries should also be drawn in the air to show how far their noise should go. Some of these shameless people also cause a racket for their fellow church members with whom they share boundaries with. Because they do not consider others, they see nothing wrong with that. It is like they would be openly saying to other churches they share boundaries with, “You are doing nonsense, you don’t know God and how to worship Him. Shut up and listen to us! If you don’t shut up we will ensure that you won’t hear each other”.

What the congregants don’t know in their lack of wisdom is that the noise that pounds their eardrums (think of little children) daily or regularly has serious health consequences in the long run.

I applaud Harare City Council for trying to come up with measures to ban such noisemakers. Most residents are not worried if these people worship their way to hell as long as they do not disturb their peace. It is high time the law protected peace-loving residents. Noise is noise, period. It does not change to be something else because you are screaming, “Jeeeeeeesuuuus!” into an amplified microphone.

Kamurai Mudzingwa writes in his personal capacity. Feedback maxmudzm@gmail.com

21 Responses to Ban noisy churches from suburbs

  1. terence February 17, 2016 at 10:41 am #

    hahaha writer I admire your effort in the research quoting the law and all .BUT what is your real issue with churches ? unless perhaps I missed an article you wrote on night clubs ,bottle stores ,beer halls , and all those other places people drink and braai till early hours of the morning in residential areas .noise yazoitwa yakapfura yekunight club ndeip iyi.

    • quda26 February 17, 2016 at 11:28 am #

      at least night clubs are only found at a specified area unlike some churches ekut someone can just put a tent at his house and start a church inoitwa everyday manheru making noice

    • Budd Spencer February 17, 2016 at 11:37 am #

      All things being equal Terence. it does not matter whether its a night club or a church. People should be at peace from both. You do not justify one wrong from the other.
      Am surrounded by these people ZCC start their Pungwe at around 21/2200hrs before that the other neighbor would have finished their gospel musical rehearsals at 21 hrs. and another one would have also finished at the same time. they seem to compete as to who have the loudest speakers. You go there to check how many people are in attendance that need such a number of loud speakers you find that there is only a handful of women and youngsters. These young guys set their musical equipment at around 1700 hrs and start playing the piano till 1900hrs when the pastor pitches up. come on guys. I have children who are studying I cant read or listen to my TV. 1 Corithians 14:8

  2. quda26 February 17, 2016 at 11:30 am #

    i know a certain church in chinhoyi who had their services daily from 6pm to 8 or some times 10pm zvekut pple actually complained and it payed off

  3. TONGESAI MAZHARA February 17, 2016 at 11:36 am #

    This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. Otherwise so many people are suffering at the expense of “NOISY CHURCHES”

  4. Hebert Chinouriri February 17, 2016 at 11:41 am #

    Kugwauta usiku hwese. Unopinda busy kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk. Hunzi mutinzwe kuti tirimunzvimbo

  5. Nehanda Nyakasikana February 17, 2016 at 11:48 am #

    To avoid such confrontations, I think local authorities are the one to blame, they need to come up with by laws whereby churches and night clubs as well as other amenities with potential to generate ” noise” must be located outside residential areas. But sometimes you would see houses being turned into churches. Here the overzealous members would blow off the air with powerful mics such that even cockroaches would seek refuge in cup boards as the noise would be threatening. So there is urgent need to act here.

    • maita February 17, 2016 at 4:21 pm #

      There is noise all over, walk every street of Harare, its all noise why complain about The Word of God only.

  6. utsinda February 17, 2016 at 12:42 pm #

    Thank you KM, this is a serious issue. These noise churches are inconsiderate, self centred, egocentric and heartless. Instead of affecting other residence once a week be it on Sunday or Saturday, they practice their pianos everyday with high volume. I know 1 church in Kambuzuma 4 which took over the place that used to be car park, the church does not have more than 30 congregants but they put speaker all over just to make unnecessary noise. Residential houses should not be converted to churches, beer halls and worworkshop PERIOD! Our kids cant study because of this daily noisy. At least once a week is acceptable but they choose daily. Honestly 20 people do not need microphone and loud speakers and to worsten, they also use generator which produce noise and pollute air. We also want to listen to our indoor music but we are now forced to listen to their noise hence it becomes unfair.

  7. Wezhira wezhara February 17, 2016 at 12:49 pm #

    Terence you are misguided. I stay in Unit G extension, Chitungwiza and there is a Zaoga church there. Almost everyday they play instruments nekuparidza full blast at times with a congregation of less than 100. Their church is small such that the pastor can do without the mic but ritori dambudziko and am contemplating taking them to court in the near future. Kana vakaridza zvavo magitare avo masikati zvingatove nane kwete from 8pm to 4am when we need to rest in preparation for work. Our children want to rest for school. Zvema night club or mabhawa ano shanda netime and mabar anovhara na 1030 pm which is almost the same time we sleep after watching TV. MaNight clubs are very few and almost 90% are located at business centres not within the community. Terence unofanira kunge uri muZaoga chete.

    • Terence February 17, 2016 at 2:31 pm #

      hahahaha wezhira I like way you put your points across but talking about “misguided” just because I have a different opinion with yours doesn’t make me a Zaoga .I hate noise at night myself. Since you stay in G extension maybe let me use zvido N is that a business area so close to houses were there are those night clubs Unit O Taita or if its still the name is that not near the houses.just because you stay far from those nightclubs doesn’t mean those who stay close like the noise. They might be few but they have very loud systems that keep everyone awake most nights .Yes I concede that some churches are close to houses but the point I was trying to make was if we cry about churches making noise lets cry about everything else that makes noise in our neighborhood .I can’t say because you don’t see nightclubs as a problem urichidhakwa that would be misguided on my part hahaha.

  8. Matunga Wekanyi February 17, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

    Wezhira achema zveshuwa. The best way is for you tonrepent so thatbyou regulate nthe nnoise from within. the noise you will have to endure in hell is far much worse than what you are hearing at ZAOGA. the bible says make a joyful noise unto the Lord. if its not joyfiul then there is something wrong with your ears or they are not doing it in the Godly manner.

    • Panga February 17, 2016 at 2:22 pm #

      have you ever been to hell or seen someone from hell, I dont’t think hell exist

  9. PIO February 17, 2016 at 2:34 pm #

    haaa Panga, ita mushe nanhasi hauzive nezvegena

    • Buddy Spencer February 18, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

      Pion read your Bible again. Gehena ndezvekutyisidzirwa izvo. ndekupi kwawakaona chinhu chinotsva chisingapere, just common sense. While wouls God be so Cruel to make people suffer on and on. yet John 4:8 says God is love. Razaro rose from the dead the bible does not even mention that what he saw from heaven. wether there was this so called gehena neither does it say he saw good life there.

  10. quda26 February 17, 2016 at 3:15 pm #

    you cant really say you have to regulate the noise from with in. we go to different churches and there is a reason one chose his/her church and we have different ways of praying and warship so you cant be forced to like the noise just because its a church

  11. chaporonga February 17, 2016 at 3:21 pm #

    Hehena repiko munongotaura semakadhakwa wozve imi. Wakarionepi?

  12. magamba February 17, 2016 at 4:53 pm #

    go to hell you never complained about taverns,shebeens or night clubs.

  13. magamba February 17, 2016 at 4:54 pm #

    chaporonga u are in it now

  14. bm February 18, 2016 at 10:03 am #

    noise makes almost everything unenjoyable,surely something must be done to stop it.

  15. mukorekore February 25, 2016 at 12:50 pm #

    abiyangu zvimwe tingataure hedu asi nyaya iriserious iyi, pawaterfalls apa tanzwa butter naVAMAGAYA hatienzereba

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