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Concern over the govt’s disregard for High Court order on unvaccinated church members

Christians in Bulawayo have expressed concern over the government’s disregard of last week’s High Court order which nullified the barring of unvaccinated church members from attending church services.

Last month, the government announced the decision to bar unvaccinated church members from attending church services, as part of measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.

But, the decision was successfully challenged by a human rights lawyer, Obert Kondongwe, in Court, resulting in the High Court ruling in his favour.

However, in a clear disregard of the order, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa on Tuesday maintained only vaccinated Christians should be allowed to attend church services.

“Cabinet discussed the request by churches for a review of the number of congregants allowed in church services to at least a third, taking into account the size of the church,” she said during a post Cabinet briefing.

“Whilst all other gatherings shall not exceed 100 persons, with regards to churches, Cabinet has resolved that only vaccinated congregants can attend and should be limited to 50% of the holding capacity of the Church.”

The announcement has left many wondering why the Executive is obstructing the rule of law.

“For the Cabinet to overturn a High Court order it’s worrying,” lamented Vusumuzi Chirwa.

“We wonder if the Cabinet has replaced both the Supreme and Constitutional Courts.  There is no need to force church congregants to be vaccinated when most of them only attend church services once a week for a couple of hours. In the church of Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, vaccinated or unvaccinated, we shall all worship our God whether vaccinated or not.”

Qalani Nhliziyo said he knew that one day the vaccination programme would be politicized.

“Let ZANU-PF Cabinet do that: more than 88% of the population are Christians and we know how they have tossed people around through their suppressive and persecuting confusion – and 88% of Zimbabwe will still vote them out still,” he said.

“This Cabinet, whoever they are, are definitely not a representation of the level of sound-minded Zimbabweans, they represent a clique which has actually forcibly imposed itself on a reasoning population. They are not our legitimate leaders. Zimbabweans cannot identify with such confusion

Kilton Moyo said there is an apparent contestation of power between the two arms of the state.

“In Zimbabwe politics must call the shots,” said Moyo.

“The High Court decision flies in the face of politics and therefore they must ignore it so they can show who is powerful. This is the sad reality of our context.”

He said it was regrettable that the country’s leadership seems divided and lacks the culture of consultation.

“I see confusion in the leadership,” he decried.

“They seem not to be consulting each other. Last week the President made the announcement he made. What has suddenly changed for them to go against that in four days?  Leadership strives on confusion. This kind is a danger to all and sundry.”

He added: “Whichever way, the government is setting itself for a dangerous warfare with God. Soon he will respond.  When you persecute the Church you are persecuting Christ. So where does this take them.”

Zimbabwe Christian Alliance executive director Reverend Useni Sibanda said: “It’s important that the government should have called the church when it changed its course of action and also there is the High Court ruling that must be respected. We encourage the government to uphold the High Court ruling.”

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