Members of the Johane Marange apostolic sect at a church gathering (Courtesy photo)
Members of the Johane Marange apostolic sect at a church gathering (Courtesy photo)

The Mozambican Ministry of Justice has banned, in the Central Province of Manica, a religious sect called “Johane Marange” for allegedly promoting child marriage and disrespecting health issues.

The church in question first emerged in neighboring Zimbabwe, where it has been operating since 2003.

According to the National Director of Justice, Constitutional and Religious Affairs Albachir Macassar, who was interviewed by Radio Mozambique, the Ministry has also banned some religious institutions with “obscure purposes” in the southern Province of Inhambane.

“To discipline some behavior and excesses of certain religious denominations, a draft Law on Religious Freedom and Worship is under discussion to regulate the exercise of this activity in Mozambique,” the director said.

Macassar argues that the State should act, not to interfere in the exercise of the activities of religious groupings, but to direct and discipline them. 

“The new law will provide for the registration of a religious denomination with a minimum of 2,000 faithful, in contrast to the current law which recognizes any religious body with a minimum of 500 faithful,” Macassar said.

According to the director, in order for the establishment of a new church, those who decide to leave an existing congregation must possess a letter of disaffiliation or recommendation, and their leaders must hold a certificate in theology.

“They must possess a letter of recommendation from the top leader of the previous religious grouping, attesting to their suitability to found another congregation,” he said.

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