Zimbabwe: Dozens injured as factions of Apostolic Mugodhi sect clash violently at Easter rally

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IN his last days – which have been commemorated every year during the Easter holiday for centuries – Jesus Christ encouraged the disciples to love one another and to pray for one another.

But a group of his would-be latter-day followers have certainly ignored this advice.

They are the believers of the apostolic Mugodhi sect.

They, according to custom, gathered in numbers at the sanctuary of the church of Wedza, but there was no love between them.

The sect has been rocked by divisions over its control following the death of leader and founder, Thadeu Mugodhi in 2019.

A Tonny Sigauke, who claimed to be the rightful heir under the church’s constitution, dragged the late Mugodhi’s son, Washington, to court for clinging to the throne.

Sigauke maintained that a certain Aaron Munodawafa was the bishop of the church with him as deputy.

In September 2021, High Court Judge Esther Muremba ruled that Sigauke had no authority to represent the church as Washington’s nomination was declared null and void.

But that didn’t stop the fights.

In fact, it may have gotten out of hand, if what happened at the shrine on Friday is to be believed.

The pilgrims put aside their bibles and engaged in a mass brawl just outside the church building overlooking Mugidhi’s tomb.

Video circulating on social media shows a number of worshipers punching and kicking each other outside the church in their white robes.

Some of the worshipers can be seen taking a flight in an effort to escape the violence.

Among the fighting adults, a child can be seen kicking someone while lying on the ground.

In the foreground, a young woman runs at full speed carrying a baby in her arms as the melee unfolds behind her.

Enraged men can be seen throwing rocks at the retreating rival faction, which includes women with babies strapped to their backs.

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