Various Apostolic sects continue to meet for their services and other mid-week prayers in flagrant violation of a ban on religious and social gatherings for 30 days announced by Government almost a fortnight ago.
Over the weekend, a number of sects across Harare met, although some had fewer numbers than the usual, although they were higher than the 30 indicated for funerals.
Leader of the Jerusalem Johane Masowe Apostolic church, Madzibaba Blessing Mutize, last week implored fellow apostolic sects to practice hygiene and adhere to Covid-19 protocols as prescribed by Government to contain the spread of the pandemic.
“This pandemic is very serious and contagious. It is killing and is not looking at who you are,” he said.
“There are various fellow sects who are ignoring Government calls on this pandemic. I appeal to them to follow the prescribed guidelines.”
Madzibaba Mutize said apostolic sects should take a leaf from other religious groups across the globe who have heeded calls to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
He also advised church members to seek medical attention if they feel any discomfort.
“Whenever you feel you are not well; one should visit the hospital for a check-up rather than relying on prayers at shrines. I also appeal to mapositori to practice hygiene,” he said.
Some Apostolic sects have huge followings but do not have ablution facilities, which result in them using the bush.
The Herald established that most apostolic sects have been trooping to shrines for overnight vigils to pray for the sick, or just in keeping with their initial plans for the year, despite the ban on gatherings and all night prayers.
At one shrine along Chitungwiza-Mbudzi Roundabout road, over 60 congregants convened last week, all of them without face masks and non-observance of social distancing guidelines.
After the service, they then took turns to see a “prophet” for one-on-one consultations.
At another shrine in the Chitungwiza Riverside area, a sizeable number of congregants camped for almost a week, despite there being no ablution facilities and clean water to drink.
In Milton Park, Harare, towards the National Sports Stadium, apostolic sects also go about their business without due regard to the ban on religious gatherings.