The government of Mozambique has reportedly banned the Johane Marange Apostolic Sect in the Central Province of Manica for allegedly encouraging child marriage and disregarding health issues.
The Johane Marange Apostolic Sect first emerged in Manicaland Province in neighbouring Zimbabwe, where it has been operating for a decade.
Albachir Macassar, the National Director of Justice, Constitutional and Religious Affairs, was reported as saying the Ministry has also banned some religious institutions with “obscure purposes” in the southern Province of Inhambane. Said Macassar:
To discipline some behaviour 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.
During the interview with Radio Mozambique, Macassar insisted that the government of Mozambique is not interfering with religious worship.
He said the government only seeks to direct and discipline religious organisations.
Macassar said under the draft law, those who want to establish new churches must have a certificate in theology.
He added that if they are leaving an existing congregation, they must have a letter of disaffiliation or recommendation. Said Macassar:
They must possess a letter of recommendation from the top leader of the previous religious grouping, attesting to their suitability to found another congregation.