By Albert Masaka
THE founder and leader of the Johanne the Fifth of Africa Apostolic Church Madzibaba Andby Makururu, whose sect has prioritised child protection as a central pillar of the organisation, has reiterated his call for other Vapostori sects to desist from marrying under-age girls.
The call comes at a time when pictures of a 69-year-old man from the Johanne Marange Apostolic Church looking cosy with a 15-year-old girl he is alleged to have married went viral on social media.
Girl Child Network founder Betty Makoni, who was among scores of people that reacted to the pictures, said the girl’s parents had appealed to people to rescue
“Parents are appealing for the rescue of their daughter aged 15 in Zimbabwe. We must all act in unity and get this man arrested and this should happen
immediately. Parents have sent an appeal for help via audio. This man aged 69 took their daughter aged 15,” Makoni posted on Instagram.
However, such cases may become a thing of the past if other sects take heed of Madzibaba Andby’s desire to deal with the problem that has been haunting his
community for years.
The prophet said he had taken the bold step to transform the indigenous church to suit global standards and values by even calling for immunisation of the
church’s members and discouraging child marriages.
“As Johanne Masowe, the Fifth of Africa, we are working towards the education of our children and doing away with the fact that ‘we’ as Mapostori marry the
under-aged because we are the ones who push for them to go to school and to respect their elders,” he said.
“The programme was established with the conscious aim of championing the creation of an environment consciously tailored to suit the needs of children in
African-initiated churches and not the children to suit the environment.
“We only permit girls to get married when they reach the age of 25 and boys to marry when they reach the age of 30.”
The sect’s child protection and development programme, under its trust “Ruvheneko Rwenyenyedzi”, has made great strides to ensure that children are protected
from all sorts of ills that inhibit their development.
Johanne Masowe, the Fifth of Africa, which is headquartered in Mutare, also has branches in Southern Africa and the United Kingdom.