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Aug 20th
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Johanne Masowe apostles riot after assassination of their Bishop?

masoweCHITUNGWIZA - Zebia Chitanda (61) a Bishop with the Johanne Masowe Church, Chitungwiza, was crushed by a truck and later died at Parirenyatwa Hospital last week, in an accident suspected to be politically motivated.

Chitanda's life reportedly became threatened after he insisted that Apostolic Churches should be apolitical. He encouraged Apostles to continue holding meetings with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as head of government, to improve the welfare of church members and Zimbabweans at large. He was leader of the Union for Development of Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe (UDACIZA) and attended various conferences with government officials and other stakeholders.

"Last month a colleague employed with the state spy agency at Mukwati Building warned the late Chitanda to be careful with his life as there were plans to get rid of him. Chitanda's position regarding the role of Apostolic Churches in politics, created enemies in Zanu (PF) and some government departments.

Chitanda believed no political party should manipulate Apostolic churches as this was un-Godly. The truck accident could have been coincidental, but Chitanda was already an endangered person," said a senior church member on condition of anonymity.

‘We know the assassin – Chitanda’s brother’ Speaking at the graveside last week at Chitungwiza Unit 'L' Cemetery, one of Chitanda's elder brothers said :"Since my brother was killed by known enemies we decided to bury him here not at the family rural home, to enable his assassins to do as they wished with his corpse. The name of the person behind the assassination starts with letter G and has seven letters.

I urge the assassin to come and make confessions at my house in Unit H before it is too late. The truck was only used as a weapon to eliminate my brother but there was a bigger conspiracy behind the accident".Another speaker who claimed friendship with the late Chitanda asked :"Where is the Government's television and radio broadcasting crew which regularly used to cast Chitanda on news and other programmes when it suited them? We expected them to grieve and express condolences to the Chitanda family. I hope they will get our messages.

"On the way to the graveyard rowdy members of the church attacked truck drivers and crew with missiles such as bricks and sticks. There was chaos along the road leading to the cemetery as trucks caught in the crossfire sped off at high speed for safety. Some crew members sustained injuries. Apostles blamed truck crews for causing Chitanda's death.

Chitanda was hit by a truck carrying bricks in the town and sustained serious injuries. He later died from the injuries. Youthful Apostolic members also looted items sold by vendors at the grave yard. More than 1 000 people attended the highly emotional burial.A senior officer at Makoni Police Station attributed the accident to human error.

"This was a natural accident according to investigating officers. Given that the owner of the truck grieved together with the bereaved family and assisted with both medical bills and funeral expenses, showed he sincerely regretted the accident. He availed himself to the Chitanda family throughout their time of sorrow,” he said.      

The police officer refused to be identified saying he was not the police station spokesperson. Efforts to seek comment from the station spokesperson were fruitless.Meanwhile, some Apostolic Churches participating in conferences with government to regularise operations of the churches, were considering pulling out of the meetings 'as the game had turned dangerous'. Participants, normally numbering more than 400 are given $800 each for attending the conferences.

It is understood the government is planning to cut the number of churches in the country from next month, allegedly for Zanu (PF) to have easier control over church leadership.the thezimbabwean