Congregants defy lockdown: Hold Secret Night Prayers in Chitungwiza

Muchaneta Chimuka 

Features Writer

  • Community education on Covid-19 is of paramount importance in order to curb this surge. We are moving around educating such church members about the importance of handwashing, social distancing, masking up and to abstain from such gatherings in order to save lives
  • The gatherings have over 30 people and no masks are worn. They sing throughout the night disturbing our sleep.

Following the Government’s ban on church services as the country tries to reduce the number of Covid-19 cases, some Chitungwiza residents, are now holding secret night prayers in groups to evade arrest.

A survey by The Herald revealed that many church members are organising secret prayers at their homes.

Some concerned residents like Mr Never Matombo of Unit O Extension this may result in increased community transmission of Covid-19.

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“We are quite worried that these people are praying in large groups at home. People from various suburbs converge here and even some known cross boarder traders come hence chances of spreading Covid-19 are high,” said Mr Matombo.

He added that most of the people who are flocking these home prayers would be ill and seeking spiritual interventions.

“The gatherings have over 30 people and no masks are worn. They sing throughout the night disturbing our sleep. We are afraid that the virus will spread in our communities if no action is taken to stop this,” he said.

Miss Loveness Mainato a local community health worker said such unsanctioned gatherings should stop forthwith.

“We are witnessing the same problem here in St Marys where people are organising secretive prayers even during the day, but the communities cannot go and report due to travel restrictions since most police stations are very far away.

“Community education on Covid-19 is of paramount importance in order to curb this surge. We are moving around educating such church members about the importance of handwashing, social distancing, masking up and to abstain from such gatherings in order to save lives,” she said.

However some church members who were interviewed believe that it is only God who can save  people from this pandemic.

“My sister how many people are dying even in the developed nations? Does it mean they were not wearing masks and sanitizing. Covid-19 only requires God’s intervention that’s why we are praying and we should not be banned,” said Madzimai Mirriam Mutevedzi of Zengeza 4.

Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Portia Manangazira urged communities to follow the World Health Organisation Guidelines of preventing the spread of Covid-19.

“Covid-19 is real let’s continue to follow the WHO guidelines and reduce the spread. Let’s wash our hands with soap or even ashes, avoid unnecessary gathering and wear our masks properly covering the mouth and nose. The country is witnessing a rise in deaths so let’s take all precautions to prevent,” she said.

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Recently, Government introduced hefty fines and sentences  especially for those who break the Covid-19 regulations.

HERALD