‘FIST FIGHT’ DURING CHURCH SERVICE AS OVER 50 CONGREGANT FIGHT | A fist fight erupted during a church service at the Twelve Apostolic Church of Christ in Bulawayo’s Emakhandeni suburb yesterday with more than 50 congregants belonging to rival factions being involved in a mass brawl.
The church was turned into a boxing ring at about 10AM after one of the church’s prophets, Mr Vincent Hlatshwayo, allegedly attacked a fellow prophet Mr Njabulo Ngwenya for being arrogant.
Messrs Hlatshwayo and Ngwenya are said to be behind the rival factions fighting for the control of the church.
Two people, including a pregnant woman, were injured as the prophets and church members ran amok while dressed in church robes. The rival factions were engaged in running battles, others throwing stones.
Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Precious Simango confirmed the incident.
She said investigations were in progress.
“We received a case of assault involving church members. Investigations are in progress,” said Insp Simango.
Association of Apostolic Churches of Zimbabwe (AACZ) national coordinator Evangelist Emmanuel Muzhangiri attended the scene and called AACZ president Bishop Tsungai Vushe, who quickly rushed there and escorted church members to Entumbane Police Station.
Mr Ngwenya alleged that he was assaulted by Mr Hlatshwayo after he asked some members of the church to lower their voices and avoid distracting other church members during the service.
Mr Hlatswayo was not immediately available for comment.
“There are church members we had prayed for and they had to leave before the church sermon was over. They started talking and I asked them to lower their voices because they were distracting those who were remaining behind.
“Hlatshwayo then interjected and accused me of being arrogant. He attacked me with fists and started throwing stones at me. Other members of the church joined in and there was chaos at the church. They threatened my wife and other people who they believe are my people,” said Mr Ngwenya.
He said some of Hlatshwayo’s friends threatened to shoot him.
Evangelist Muzhangiri said: “I asked some of the women what was happening and they told me that they had been attacked by some members of the church. We went to the church and I asked Mr Hlatshwayo why he was attacking Mr Ngwenya and he didn’t give me a satisfactory answer.”
Bishop Vushe expressed concern over the incident and said it was embarrassing for people to fight at church.
“We don’t condone violence, especially at church. What happened today shows that these so called prophets are fooling members of the public.
“This is why we’re having more rape cases coming from churches because too many false prophets are emerging and it’s creating problems for us. It’s unfortunate that people tend to follow these people,” said Bishop Vushe.
He urged apostolic churches to register under the AACZ so that they are taught how to run their churches.