By Nyemudzai Kakore
The Registrar-General’s office is reportedly investigating the occasion in Harare on Sunday where the United Family International Church (UFIC) founder and leader Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa “blessed” over 600 couples and issued them with certificates.
Sources at the RG’s office said they were interested to know what happened on Sunday as it came after the Registrar-General Mr Tobaiwa Mudede banned mass weddings.
“We are interested in knowing what happened on Sunday at that church. What we have in the meantime are reports according to the way the media reported the event. In the meantime we will not say much, the RG will address the media on the matter soon,” said the source.
Mr Mudede banned mass weddings in 2012 after reports that some of the marriage officers were facilitating illegal marriages of conveniences mainly involving Zimbabweans and foreigners.
The RG also said mass weddings were “treacherous” because marriage officers should not issue marriage certificates to multiple couples at the same time.
Historians and chiefs on Sunday also expressed mixed feelings over the UFIC ceremony, saying it was against the indigenous people’s tradition.
However, UFIC wedding organising team Pastor Edson Bvopfo yesterday said the event was meant to bless the marriage of the congregates.
“This occasion was a marriage blessing event. All these people that celebrated their marriages were already married at the magistrate courts,” he said.
“The Man Of God Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa gave them certificates written Marriage Blessing Certificates and he even pointed out that they had to respect and honour the marriage certificates from the local authorities.
“We had some who were not able to be part of the event because they did not have Marriage Certificates which was a pre-requisite for the blessing wedding.”
During the event Prophet Makandiwa said, “I am just here to pronounce a blessing over your marriage. This is just a Marriage Blessing Certificate not a marriage certificate because the marriage certificate you get it from the Government.
“This certificate is not as binding as that you get from the Government so please keep your marriage certificate as well as this blessing certificate I am giving to you. This event just shows that a wedding is not all about money which means you can achieve whatever you want to in life,” he said.
Zimbabwe Council of Chiefs’ president Chief Fortune Charumbira said he was not familiar with unions of such a nature.
“I am not familiar with these kind of weddings. I first want to understand these types of weddings for me to comment. I do not want to comment in the wrong context.
“Were the couples issued with marriage certificates at the same time or it was just ceremonial weddings,” he questioned.
Dr Vimbai Chivaura, said according to the tradition, it was taboo to unite couples in November. He said because UFIC was following the Western way of praying, he could not judge the church, but wished them good luck in their endeavours.
“We will not judge him if he is following the Rhodesian Christianity, but according to our tradition November unions are not allowed. Most people are both Christians at the same time practising tradition. People must learn to be consistent,” he said.
Dr Chivaura said if the nation wanted to uphold tradition, the first major step was to amend the country’s Constitution.
“Churches are doing what they want because of the Constitution. If we do not want these things we must change our Constitution. The Constitution does not stop anyone from marrying anyone anytime they want.
“According to their bible, it is said God will never shame anyone who really pursues his word. I will say good luck to these churches,” he said.
Dr Chivaura said November was sacred because it was deemed to be a month where ancestors took a hiatus so no one would be there to bless their unions.
Professor Sheunesu Mupepereki said churches were disrespecting cultural practices. “These churches are writing their own laws. We do not know which cultural laws they are following. We know that this month is not meant for weddings. But because they are following colonial practices, we cannot judge them,” he said. The Herald