Some churches based in the resort town of Victoria Falls are on collision course with state medical authorities after it emerged that the religious sects in the town have been openly conducting church services in blatant violation of lockdown regulations.
After President Emmerson Mnangagwa pronounced a national lockdown to mitigate the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) in Zimbabwe effective March 30, a blanket ban on public and social gatherings was introduced.
The new law effectively interdicted religious and social gatherings in the southern African country as Harare intensified its fight to defeat the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Alarm has also been raised over rampant violation of the concept of social distancing at the unconstitutional gatherings.
State media reported that members of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) have been gathering at their leader Elder Rangarirai Sendama’s residence in Mkhosana township.
According to the reports, on Monday evening there were about 20 people who were ‘praying close to each other’ at the residence of Elder Sendama. On Wednesday and Thursday morning, state media says it witnessed congregants numbering between 10 and 15 people at the same place.
Undercover Chronicle staffers who were investigating the mushrooming of the banned gatherings were reportedly sprinkled with some ‘holy water’ by Elder Sendama as part of the church’s tradition for one to be allowed into the premises.
The church leader, Elder Sendama was reportedly serving tea to congregants who were at the premises.
Sendama denied reports that he was holding church services at the place and, instead, claimed that they were only attending to those in need of prayer.
“We can’t exactly say how many people are coming here because they come at different times. These are people coming with different problems especially the sick who want to be prayed for. They include church and community members,” Elder Sendama said.
He questionably claims that he got blessings from the police ‘who advised us to ensure that social distancing is observed and not to keep people here which is what we are doing.
Sendama further alleges that they have already raised awareness, adding that church members bring their own sanitisers when going for prayers at the shrine.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, has said police were going to investigate the matter.

State Media
Additional Reporting: Zwnews