The Johanne Masowe eChishanu apostolic sect has dismissed an audio clip circulating on social media purporting that its church members were forced to drink beer by members of the Zimbabwe National Army during an all-night prayer session in Dzivaresekwa during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The apostolic sect’s leader, Madzibaba Israel Muhana, said their church members respected and complied with the Government directive to stop mass gatherings to avoid the spread of the pandemic.
“We heard about the audio circulating on the social media claiming that our members were forced to drink alcohol during a night prayer session,” he said. “We have informed our members that they should stay at home until the end of the lockdown.
“There is nothing like that. We do not have members who are conducting prayer sessions at night. No one was forced to drink beer. Our members are conducting prayer sessions at their homes.”
Madzibaba Muhana said the audio clip was created by some people who wanted to tarnish the image of the church.
“We have urged our church members to stay at home and to comply with Government’s directive,” he said. “Coronavirus is a disease which knows no boundaries, so everyone must heed Government directives.
“As I speak, I am observing social distancing as required by the World Health Organisation.”
Madzibaba Muhana said they were yet to receive complaints from their church members on the alleged harassment by the uniformed forces, so they could not base comments on the audio.
Most churches have complied with the Government’s directive to suspend mass gatherings as part of measures to control and prevent the transmission of Covid-19.
Government on Sunday extended the Covid-19 national lockdown to May 3 as part of the response to the rising number of cases in the country.
Zimbabwe has so far recorded 25 confirmed Covid-19 cases, three of which resulted in death. The Herald