A GOSPEL of God Apostolic Church evangelist has defended his decision to marry a teenager despite the uproar it has caused among his flock.
The church is also known as Johanne Masowe yeSaturday.
Francis Elizara Nedewedzo (64) has taken a 17-year-old church member as his second wife.
However, the union was not accepted by some church members at their recent gathering in Norton.
A picture of Nedewedzo, with the teenage girl, widely circulated on social media soon after his sermon on Saturday.
It resulted in him taking action against the church member who posted it.
Nedewedzo told H-Metro that some senior church members were behind the individual who posted the picture on social media as a way of attacking him.
“It is true that I married a younger woman. She is not 17 as reported, but 19, uye imvana inotori nemwana wayo.
“My first wife passed away and I married another wife and this younger woman is my second wife.
“I married her some months ago, but our senior church members are the ones tarnishing me since I am the vice-chairperson of the church, evangelist as well as village head.”
“The person behind the posting of the picture has since apologised to church leaders and is now facing disciplinary measures.
“If he was not a relative, I could have taken legal action against him.
“Tinopinda kereke yaBaba Johanne Marange yeSaturday.
“I am the fourth senior church leader here in Zimbabwe, and that is why I am being attacked.
“I cannot divulge much, but it’s just church politics.”
The Hatfield mechanic and businessman said he is living peacefully with his wives, although it’s not a must for church members to have many wives.
“It is not church doctrine to have many wives, and it is not a sin to have many.
“We believe in growing membership through preaching the word not through birth.”