via Women, church leaders clash | The Zimbabwean by Tony Saxon 18.09.13
The Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association has clashed with the members of the Johanne Marange Apostolic sect over child abuse cases.
The clash emanated at an awareness meeting held at Zengeni business centre last week. An official from ZWLA, Mavis Madume, urged villagers to be conscious of the laws that protect women and children.
“Times have changed. It is no longer acceptable to view women as second-class citizens. The modern world now accepts that we are all equal citizens with equal rights,” Madume said.
However, the statements stirred a hornet’s net among the men of the Johanne Marange sect who accused ZWLA of trying to destroy their family ties and the social fabric by teaching “anti-biblical” messages.
“As community and church leaders from the mapositori sect we do not accept that at all. How can we (men) be equal with women? It is in the Bible that women will always be under men,” said a member of the sect only identified as Madzibaba Paul.
Tempers flared when ZWLA threatened legal action against the religious sect over the alleged abuse of children and women in the community.
Children and women within the Johanne Marange Apostolic sect are not allowed to go to the hospital to seek medication and in some cases some of the girls are not allowed to go to school. Little girls are also forced into polygamous marriages.
Headman Zengeni, who attended the meeting, took a swipe at those who abused children and women in the community saying the law should take its course and perpetrators should be punished.
“Those who abuse women should be punished. Women are human beings who have rights that must also be respected,” Zengeni said.
The meeting was meant to increase awareness and campaign against women and child abuse in Zimunya/Marange district.
ZWLA explained to villagers the legal provisions of the Child Guardianship and Custody Act, the Domestic Violence Act and women and child related constitutional provisions.
The meeting was organized by ZWLA in collaboration with United Denominations of African Churches in Zimbabwe and Africa.