The United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe has split, with a rival faction rechristened The Methodist Revival Church.
The split was catalysed by a massive vote rigging scandal that secured a bishop-for-life status for the incumbent Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa in July last year. There have been howls of protest from outraged parishioners ever since, leading to the latest split.
The new church was launched in Harare on Sunday, attended by thousands of parishioners.
The MRC is led by the newly enthroned Bishop, Phillip Mupindu and reverends Ngonidzashe Mukarakate, John Chinyerere, woyoungoziwa Murauro and Gift Mudambo.
Mupindo was handed a spanking new Range Rover at the launch.
Nhiwatiwa, is accused of breaking church canon law and using "shocking electoral fraud" to secure a second term as Bishop of the United Methodist Church of Zimbabwe.
His stolen re-election with the assistance of a church official who used to chair the Electoral Supervisory Commission, Theophilus Gambe, shocked parishioners.
Gambe is the chancellor of the UMC in Zimbabwe. The electoral fraud sparked calls for a motion to remove Nhiwatiwa from office, but he refused to step down or to rerun the election, which was won by Rev Forbes Matonga with 263 votes to 249.
"The church has to set a moral tone for the nation," said an outraged church official. "If the church conducts its business in the same way that Zanu (PF) does, then there is no hope."
Outraged parishioners said senior bishops who presided over Nhiwatiwa's flawed re-election at the church AGM had attempted to cover up the electoral fraud.
The new MRC will modify the uniform and ditch the sash normally worn by senior members.Post published in: News