Chipinge JWs win High Court case
The High Court of Zimbabwe in Mutare ruled in favor of three Chipinge South based members of Jehovah’s Witnesses who suffered discrimination for refusing to participate in a religious ceremony that violated their consciences.
The religious organisation reported on its official website, jw.org, that on September 29, 2022, the High Court of Zimbabwe sided with brothers Tobias Gabaza, Wonder Muposheri and Jabulani Sithole in a religious rights case.
“In October 2020, the three brothers were summoned to appear before a court presided over by a village head after another official insisted that the brothers contribute to an indigenous ceremony.
“The ceremony involves invoking the spirits of the dead with the intention of bringing seasonal rain, and each villager is expected to contribute. The brothers made the decision, based on their Bible-trained conscience, to decline participation in the ceremony.
“The village head ruled against our brothers and threatened them, attempting to coerce them to comply. Our brothers chose to appeal to the Magistrate Court in Chipinge,” said the report.
It is further stated that on January 5, 2021, the Magistrate Court in Chipinge ruled in favour of the three brothers.
“However, the village leaders refused to obey the court’s decision and continued to pressure the trio believers. Additionally, other villagers began to ostracize and mistreat them.
“Since the brothers continued to face discrimination, they appealed to the High Court where the higher court acknowledged that the village officials violated the brothers’ rights. It also ordered the village leaders to exempt the brothers from any traditional activities that violated their consciences and to pay them damages,” added the report.
Jehovah’s Witnesses expect that this ruling will benefit brothers and sisters living throughout Zimbabwe, as these traditions are observed throughout the country.