A VISIT by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa to Mugodhi Apostolic Faith Church in Wedza on a cancer screening awareness programme has divided the church, with one faction accusing the late founder Tandewu Mugodhi’s sympathisers of disrespecting their religious beliefs.

This was revealed on Saturday at the burial of Tandewu by the faction which is fighting to wrest control of the church from Mugodhi’s family. The faction accused its rivals of inviting the First Lady for cancer screening, a medical process which they claim was against their beliefs.

The First Lady visited the shrine in April last year alongside government officials from the
Health ministry as part of her nationwide awareness campaign on free cancer screening.

Zimbabwe Amalgamated Churches Council patron Jimaya Muduvuri, who also attended the burial at the weekend, confirmed the matter yesterday, saying the cancer screening exercise had brought divisions within the sect.

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“I am aware of the issue and it is being propped up by one Mangoma. The First Lady is a national figure, not a political one. She is doing a national duty, hence the invite by the apostolic members. We heard that some of them are questioning why the First Lady visited the church. This is dividing the sect, of which it is not good,” he said.

Some of the country’s white garment-donning apostolic churches have been abandoning their archaic religious beliefs and embracing modern medical treatment.

However, others are still deeply rooted in their religious beliefs that shun medical assistance.

The Mugodhi apostolic sect is currently embroiled in a nasty leadership wrangle that has resulted in factionalism breaking out.

Tandewu died last week and was buried at the church headquarters at Chitope in Wedza.

He was succeeded by his son Washington, a move that has, however, angered his rivals.