Army guards UPC Easter service

By Veronica Gwaze
The United Pentecostal Church in Zimbabwe held its Easter Conference in Kwekwe under the guard of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and Zimbabwe National Army, in case violence erupted.

File picture of Zimbabwean soldiers patrolling the streets of Glen View in Harare
File picture of Zimbabwean soldiers patrolling the streets of Glen View in Harare

The church is mired in leadership disputes that have resulted in nine court cases. The United Pentecostal Church in Zimbabwe held its Easter Conference in Kwekwe under the guard of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and Zimbabwe National Army, in case violence erupted.

In some of the cases, Pastor Clifford Makandise is the complainant while in others he is the defendant.

In Bulawayo, he has a case against Sabelo Gwebu and another case against Pastors Edward Gwebu, Samuel Mugwiji and Pride Nhokwara.

In Harare, at the High Court, he has cases against Pastors Samuel Mugwiji and Reverend Antony Wungano Nyandoro, another against Rev Nyandoro; and another against Pastors Innocent Toriro, Nhokwara, Gwebu and Livious Moyo.

A senior pastor in the church, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation, said: “These fights have dragged the church’s name into the mud and most congregants are leaving church.”

He said the ZRP and ZNA provided security at their Easter Conference to quell the threat of violence.

“This is the first we have had such a conference and because there were fears of violence erupting, the security forces were asked to be on stand-by,” he said.

A major problem congregants have with Pr Makandise’s leadership is that he allowed the Zimbabwe People First party to use a church property in Eastlea.

Reached for comment, Pr Makandise said the issues would be resolved internally.

“Yes, there are things happening at our church, but they are still internal .

“Therefore, will be resolved internally so I cannot comment further,” he said. The Sunday Mail