THE Bulawayo City Council is considering banishing apostolic sects from the open spaces they have turned into worship centres amid serious health concerns.
The sect worshipers are being accused of littering and practicing open defecation in bushes around their shrines, in a city which has faced deadly diarrhoea outbreaks in recent years.
Most open-air worshipers are members of the white garment apostolic sects popularly, known as Amapostori/Mapostori, who usually conduct prayers in bushes, road sides or anywhere the ‘holy spirit’ would have directed them.
According to Bulawayo city council’s latest report, several apostolic sect churches has sprouted at almost every opening space in the city where human waste and an assortment of used toilet papers are scattered all over the city.
Deputy Mayor Mlandu Ncube, who raised the matter at a recent council meeting, said that in some instances the worshipers have the temerity to camp at the undesignated sites for several weeks or even months.
“Council must clear all these open spaces that are being used illegally as churches,” said Ncube.
“You find more than five groups of people with different places of worship and at the end of the day, they leave the places littered. The city has provisions for churches, land is available on offer, therefore all those who establish churches should follow the city’s regulations and acquire land to build their worship structures,” he added.
Very few of these apostolic sects have constructed ablution facilities near their shrines.