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Marriage of Convenience: Infidelity, Abuse, Financial Problems Ignite Divorces in Zim

Divorce cases in Zimbabwe are skyrocketing because of infidelity, abuse, financial problems, parental interference and early marriages, Chr...

Divorce cases in Zimbabwe are skyrocketing because of infidelity, abuse, financial problems, parental interference and early marriages, Christian leaders have said - while President Mugabe has called partners to seek common ground to iron out their differences. 

Statistics from the High Court of Zimbabwe show that the country recorded more than 4 000 divorce cases last year.

The statistics only include marriages under the Marriages Act (Chapter 5:11) and do not take into account cases under the Customary Marriages Act. 

Worryingly, preachers of the gospel previously seen as the advisors of troubled marriages are featuring prominently in the statistics.

Such examples include Prophet Passion Java of Kingdom Embassy, Apostle Andrew Wutawunashe of Family of God Church; while across the border the same is true for Nigerian Pastor Chris Oyakhilome. 
Apostle Wutawunashe has Divorced his Wife for Many Years 

Last Saturday, Redeemed House of God Church founder Dr Nick Ohizu said the high number of divorces was occasioned by the fact that people were getting married for the wrong reasons.

Dr Ohizu said this on the sidelines of the 18th wedding anniversary of Kingdom Prosperity Ministry founder, Apostle Rodney Chipoyera and his wife Farai. Said Dr Ohizu: “A lot of people these days get married for material benefits. The thinking is that if someone has money, he or she can be a good wife or husband.

“The other reason for high divorce cases is that the church is not playing its role in teaching people about romance, sex and love.

“We get to shy away from these teachings, leaving the Hollywood to do the job and you see what happens in Hollywood, where one marries today (but) divorces tomorrow. Now our children are learning marriage from Hollywood and they are the ones telling our children that it is okay to walk away from a marriage,” said Dr Ohizu, who has been married for 15 years.

He castigated young adults who spend thousands of dollars preparing for a wedding, which is a one-day event, but have no time to attend counselling sessions.

“They spend say US$10 000 for decoration only for a day and if you tell them to come for counselling, they tell you that their schedule is tight. Surprisingly, that very same person has time to practice steps, some even practice for six months, learning to dance Awilo (Longomba). 

"That is what I call misdirected priorities. They forget that the wedding is an event while the marriage is a lifetime commitment,” Dr Ohizu said.

In 2013, the Harare High Court handled 1 270 divorce applications and 550 decrees of divorce were granted. At the High Court in Bulawayo, almost 500 cases were handled and the court granted 130 decrees of divorce in 2013, resulting in 660 marriages being terminated that year. 

Tabernacle of Worship leader Bishop Rodger Jeffrey – who has been married to Pr Monica for 26 years – said some men of God lacked principles and strategy.

“I cannot counsel a woman in my office, just the two of us behind closed doors. Where do you intend to take the woman if she is crying that her husband is not satisfying her at home? Why do you put yourself in a corner?” Bishop Jeffrey said.

“A man of God is a human being. The human aspect of a man has lust. If you don’t control those things you will be a victim. So I will appeal to servants of God that we are under planet earth, we are not made out of wood, when you know where you are going you won’t allow these challenges to stop you.
“Joseph knew where he was going that’s why he couldn’t let Potiphar’s wife stop him. It’s better to do such counselling sessions with your wife,” he added.

Marriage counsellor Apostle Levi Mahemu of Body of Christ Ministries International said early marriages were largely responsible for divorces given that couples would not be sure of what it was they really wanted out of life.

“Most of the victims of divorce are young people, whether there are pastors or not, they do not have the ability to make decisions on their own but are advised by influential friends and relatives; which is wrong,” said Apostle Mahemu, himself married for seven years now.

Married for 28 years, Light of Jesus Ministries founder Archbishop Lucy Madekurozva said divorces were caused by evil spirits. She said people needed total deliverance from the spiritual and physical aspects of life if divorce cases were to decline.

“It should be clear that no one is safe inasmuch as divorce is concerned, hence everyone should be protected by Jesus Christ,” said Archbishop Madekurozva.

While social media have made communication easier, legal practitioner, marriage counsellor and pastor, Dr Davison Kanokanga highlighted such platforms had been the downfall of many marriages.

Dr Kanokanga said people were meeting on social media platforms and before they really knew each other, they rushed into marriage.

“Before marriage, one has to get pre-marital counselling but unfortunately not all churches have the capacity to provide such a necessary requirement of marriage,” he said. “It’s not easy for them (pastors) to share their problems with people, worse still marital ones. They might say we go to our spiritual parents but the truth of the matter is that if the marriage was not built on a firm foundation, it will not stand.”

Ms Patricia Makore said in her 18-year career as a counsellor, she had learnt that most couples failed to accept their spouse’s weaknesses and strengths, resulting in separation or divorce.

Weighing in, one of Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe founding fathers Dr Matefani Shumbambiri said: “People should get married when they are mature and prayer should always be the centre because marriages preach the second coming of Christ. The husband represents the church and the wife symbolises Jesus.”

His wife, Rev Rosemary, to whom he has been married for 52 years, said they were still in love because “we pray and we are always together”. - The Sunday Mail 

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