‘Declare churches essential service’

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Nyasha Dube 

STAFF WRITER

duben@dailynews.co.zw

This comes as the government last week enforced another tough lockdown, banning all public gatherings except for funerals, which should be attended by less than 30 people.

Only those businesses offering essential services are allowed to operate from 8am to 3pm with the public expected to observe a 6pm to 6am curfew.

Farai Misihairabwi and Farai Chigume have approached the High Court, claiming that the exclusion of religious gatherings from the list of exempted essential services goes against the Constitution of Zimbabwe which provides for the right to worship.

In their application, the duo cited President Emmerson Mnangagwa, his deputy and Health minister Constantino Chiwenga and Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe as respondents.

Misihairabwi and Chigume argued that their prayer to the High Court is good for the nation as it seeks divine intervention in the resolution of its myriad challenges.

“The application is premised on the fact that the gatherings for religious purposes can never be equated to individual worship and praying as an individual or a family can never be the same as groups or churches as there is power in numbers and, therefore, religion is a lifeline whose flow can never be disrupted even for a single day. Gatherings for groups of 20 or 30 people will be in the best interest of the nation,” the duo submitted.

Misihairabwi and Chigume claimed the exclusion of religious services from essential services belittled the faith of the people.

They want normal church services to be allowed to resume, with congregants observing the prescribed physical distancing, hand sanitising and wearing of masks to limit the possible spread of the novel virus.

“It is, therefore, prudent and correct that an order to allow religious gatherings of a reasonable size observing the Covid-19 rules, regulations and guidelines will be the most appropriate thing to do.”

 

TWO members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church have filed an urgent chamber application with the High Court seeking an order declaring religious gatherings an essential service during the current hard Covid-19 lockdown.

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