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Churches defy city council directive

By Tatenda Chitagu
MASVINGO — Open-air worshippers continue to defy a recent local council directive to stop conducting their services in the open.
The city fathers fear an outbreak of water-borne diseases such as cholera, dysentery and typhoid as the worshippers use the bush system.

Masvingo mayor, Alderman Femius Chakabuda, last week conceded that the local authority was fighting a losing battle against open-air worshippers, mainly the different apostolic sects that conduct their prayers on council vleis.

“We are facing resistance from the open-air worshippers,” said Chakabuda.

“They are actually increasing, despite our ban.”

The local authority last month banned open-air worship in a bid to tame the possible outbreak of diseases such as cholera and typhoid.

They cited lack of proper sanitation as the main reason behind the ban since some of the apostolic sect members relieve themselves in the bush.

Chakabuda said the council lacked manpower to enforce the ban which was reached at a full council meeting recently. “Our main problem is that of enforcement. We have a few municipal police details to enforce the ban,” he said.

Masvingo’s clampdown on open-air worshippers came after a similar resolution was made by the Bulawayo City Council early this year.

Most apostolic sect churches prefer to conduct their services in open spaces rather than under roofs.

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