POLICE in Wedza, Mashonaland East province, have launched a manhunt for 12 Mugodhi Apostolic Faith Church members over the violence that erupted at the church’s headquarters during Easter.
The suspects are all members of a faction led by Washington Mugodhi who allegedly assaulted a rival faction on April 14 as the fight for control of the church turned ugly.
Five church members were arrested and taken to Marondera Magistrates Court on public violence charges. They were remanded to May 20 on $15 000 bail each.
According to police, the majority of the suspects are from Masvingo province.
The suspects were identified in a video that was shot during the melee at the shrine.
The church has been rocked by a bitter leadership wrangle following the death of Thadeau Mugodhi in 2019.
The late Mugodhi had appointed his son Washington as successor, a move that angered other sect members who described it as unconstitutional.
One Tonny Sigauke, who claimed to be the rightful heir according to the church constitution, has taken Washington to court for clinging to the throne.
In September 2021, High Court judge Justice Esther Muremba ruled that Sigauke did not have authority to represent the church while Washington’s appointment was declared null and void.