The Sunday Mail
As 2018 screeches to a halt, it is impossible to forget some of the key events that captured the imagination of both the religious and non-believers alike.
The event-filled year was quite epic: from controversial prophecies to man of the cloth running for political office.
Of course not forgetting congregates who turned their shrines to war zones.
And wait, some quarters even claimed to have discovered a cure for HIV and Aids.
What a year!
The abrasive tussle for leadership in the Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe (AFM) was both worrying and riveting.
The power struggle between factions led by former AFM president Dr Aspher Madziire and his second-in- command, Reverend Cossam Chiyangwa, effectively left the church split in half.
Essentially, the Rev Chiyangwa camp vehemently opposed Dr Madziire’s push to amend the constitution.
It is believed that the proposed amended constitution would have stripped pastors of autonomy in using church funds.
The impasse naturally led to a split.
However, after 15 years as president, Dr Madziire handed over his faction of the church to Rev Amon Madawo.
The church is now known as Reform AFM and it operating under the amended constitution.
Chiyangwa’s camp is now referred to as the ‘Original AFM’ and has kept the original constitution.
The African Apostolic Church (ACC) also had its fair share of troubles, especially after its revered leader Mutumwa Paul Mwazha fell ill.
Known by many as a strict follower of the gospel, the aged clergyman’s sons angled to take over the reins.
Matters came to a head in Manicaland early this year when thousands of followers were turned away without partaking the Holy Communion.
The decision to entrust the leadership of the church to the youngest brother, Tawanda, did not sit well with his older brothers.
The story, however, has a good ending, as the 42-year-old Tawanda will soon be taking over as bishop and spiritual leader of the church, while his brother, Chiseko, becomes the chairperson of the board of trustees.
The other brothers are in the executive committee. United Pentecostal Church in Zimbabwe was also mired in leadership wrangles which saw the church hosting their Easter conference in Kwekwe under heavy security guard.
This year alone, various factions of the church dragged each other to court.
Leaders of indigenous churches command huge respect mainly among their followers. The death of renowned clergyman and founder of the Johanne Masowe eChishanu Vadzidzi VaJesu Aaron Mhukuta Gomo — popularly known as Mudzidzi Wimbo — in July was therefore unsurprisingly emotive.
Thousands attended his burial, except his close family members (his wives and children) who snubbed his burial.
The issue of prophecies always raise debate whenever it is discussed, especially when it is used as a yardstick to prove true prophets from fake ones.
The jury is still out on Enlightened Christian Gathering Church (ECG) leader Shepherd Bushiri’s prophecy in May that God had shown him that Zimbabwe would be like Dubai in six years.
Whether Bushiri’s prophecy will come to pass or not, only time will tell.
The jury will be out for quite some time.
Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries leader Walter Magaya grabbed the headlines once again when he claimed that he had discovered a cure for Aids from the “Aguma” plant. The claim raised disquiet in the health sector.
The prophet later retracted his claim.