The late founder of the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) of Portland Oregon, Reverend Morgan Sengwayo’s youngest son, Missiondom succumbed to injuries sustained following a brutal attack by thugs at a church house in Pelandaba suburb in Bulawayo.
Missiondom was the only surviving son of the late Rev Sengwayo who died in 1982.
He died on Sunday evening at United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) where he had been on a weeklong life support following the attack.
The assault, which occurred a week ago, has left the Pelandaba community with more questions than answers amid strong suspicions by family members that the murder could be linked to a rivalry within the trouble-ridden church.
The church popularly known as Ivangeli, was founded by Missiondom’s father in 1955.
Family spokesperson Dr Rayban Sengwayo said Missiondom (46) was attacked by unknown suspects before the assailants left him lying unconscious in one of the rooms at the house.
He said he was discovered by a church member who had brought him food at his room.
“About a week ago, Missiondom was found at his house in Pelandaba with severe head injuries and bruises all over the body. He had been attacked the night before and left for dead and we took him to UBH where he had been in a coma since then,” he said.
Dr Sengwayo alleged that Missiondom was a victim of infighting in the church.
“We are not sure what happened but police are investigating the circumstances surrounding his killing. What we know is that there has been some long-standing rivalry between Missiondom and some church members aligned to a rival faction who didn’t want him to stay at the church house,” he said.
“There is a fight happening at the church resulting in splits. When Missiondom’s camp lost in court following a series of litigations, everyone was evicted from the church premises. We are saying, no matter what hatred in the church, I don’t think it was fair for Missiondom to be a victim of that anger.”
Dr Sengwayo said the rival faction failed to evict Missiondom since the house is still registered under his father’s name.
He said Missiondom’s wife died in Botswana recently. However, due to the closure of the country’s borders as part of Covid-19 regulations, he failed to travel to the neighbouring country for his wife’s funeral.
“Sadly, we were in the process of assisting Missiondom to renew his expired travel documents to facilitate his travel to Botswana so that he could see where his wife was buried,” said Dr Sengwayo.
Spokesperson of the rival faction Mr Caleb Fefe Chidhakwa said Missiondom had turned into a nuisance.
“Missiondom was a drug addict and abused alcohol such that he would vandalise church property. He would come home at night and find the gate locked and then jump over the precast wall,” he said.
“As a church, we would take him to Ingutsheni Central Hospital for rehabilitation but his relatives would go and fetch him.
“Upon his return he would cause mayhem and continue with unruly behaviour and destroying things. In fact, he was a member of the faction that was evicted from church premises through court rulings, but out of pity we spared him since he is the son of our founder.”
Mr Chidhakwa alleged that Missiondom was being used by the rival camp to cause chaos within their camp.
The church has, since the death of Rev Sengwayo, been plagued by numerous divisions which resulted in several splinter groups.
Contacted for comment, Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube and the AFM of Portland Oregon’s regional superintendent Rev Oniyas Gumbo both said they were yet to get detailed information.
Mourners are gathered at Number 159 Matopos Road, Fourwinds in Bulawayo. Burial is set for Friday at Greengables Farm on the outskirts of Bulawayo. The Chronicle