THE Johanne Masowe Echishanu Apostolic sect has stepped up efforts to fight gender-based violence (GBV) and early child marriages within their religious community.

BY KENNETH NYANGANI

Last Sunday, the sect conducted a national day of prayer against GBV and early child marriages in Mutare, which was attended by hundreds of their members, government officials, civic society groups, and gospel musician Mathias Mhere.

Sect leader Andby Makururu said the national day of prayer was part of the 16 days of activism against GBV which is observed every November to December.

“As a church we, will continue to fight against the perpetrators of GBV, and we have lined up a number of programmes as we are keen to fight GBV and early child marriages,” he said.

Makururu said in order to promote the girl child, he was also paying school fees for close to 500 disadvantaged children, including girls, across the country so that they avoid early child marriages.

Manicaland provincial director in the Ministry of Women Affairs, Munyaradzi Rubaya, said there was need for continued engagement with the white garment sect in order to eradicate the scourge of early child marriages in the province.

Manicaland is one of the provinces with a high prevalence of early child marriages due to the religious practices often associated with the vapostori sect.

Rubaya said the white garment sect had been difficult to penetrate in terms of efforts to end early child marriages.

“We are using prophet Makururu to reach out to fellow members of the white garment sect as a champion of gender-based violence. The church has been supportive of our programmes in the province,” Rubaya said.

Makururu, through his Ruvheneko Rwenyenyedzi Trust, promised to transform indigenous churches to suit global trends and values chiefs in safeguarding the livelihoods of the girl child.

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