By Staff Reporter
EXTREME poverty wrought by grand corruption and maladministration in the public sector has forced almost half of the Christian community to join apostolic sects, known for their deep spirituality, in a bid to miraculously change their fortunes for the better.
Failed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government, which has ground the country’s economy to its knees, citizens have turned to the church to seek heavenly salvation.
Apostolics believe in Christianity, which according to the latest Zimbabwe Statistical Agency (ZimStats) data, is the main religion constituting 79,9% of Mashonaland West province’s population.
Mashonaland West is the third most populous province after Harare and Manicaland with a total population of 1,893 584 of which 934 640 are male and 958 944 are female.
Presenting the 2022 Population and Housing Census provincial profiles, district data sheets and gross domestic product (GDP) during a dissemination workshop held in Chinhoyi on Tuesday, ZimStats demographic analysis manager, Perfect Makumbe, said of the Christian majority, 40% belonged to different apostolic groupings.
“According to the census results, Christians constituted 79,9% of the population of Mashonaland West while a significant 12,1% did not identify with any religion.
“Now looking at the Christian, and here we are saying those that identified as Roman Catholics, protestants and pentecostals, 41,9% belonged to apostolic sects,” said Makumbe without elaborating on the cause of the trend.
In a bid to unpack the census results, NewZimbabwe.com sought comments from diverse opinion leaders, who pointed at poverty and joblessness as driving people to join the white garment churches as they had become hopeless in the face of an arrogant regime.
“The only logical conclusion why we have had a massive shift of churchgoers, particularly Christians, going to apostolic sects is that the masses have become hopeless and are seeking miracles because the leaders have failed dismally to provide better livelihoods.
“Apostolic sects give holy water and anointed stones which are believed to bring good tidings and miracles,” said Givemore Njovani, a social commentator.
During the data presentation workshop, ZimStats also announced the province’s unemployment rate stood at a curious 14,1 % against the often-postulated average of 90%.
“When we dealt with the unemployment rate, we used the international labour law’s definition of unemployment and not street definitions. The provincial unemployment rate was at 14, 2 % and not those numbers we hear elsewhere.”
It was revealed that the provincial literacy rate stood at 93,1 percent, with males 94,7 percent and 91,6 per cent for females.