By Charlie Madondo|
When United Family International ‘Church’ founder Emmanuel Makandiwa performed the ritualistic ‘mass wedding’ of more than 60 couples in 2014, the authorities complained that this was illegal.
However, no legal action has been taken to date against Makandiwa, despite a detailed case being made against him by registrar-general Tobaiwa Mudede.
Makandiwa claimed he had performed a ‘marriage blessing’, although actual marriage certificates were issued.
Now Daily has since been told that at least one Nigerian man who was part of the ‘mass wedding’ has left his ‘wife’, giving credence to state claims that such events could be used to promote sex trafficking and prostitution.
This site has also established that there is a sophisticated dating service operating in the church. One man complained that his wife had started having sexual affairs with other men under the guise of doing church business.
“Makandiwa’s church has destroyed my marriage,” fumed the man, who preferred to be called Rado. “I used to have a good relationship with my wife while she was going to the Anglican church. The moment she started going to Makandiwa’s church, she changed. I discovered that in that sect, married women are paired off with men, for sex. Usually, the women are given religious tasks at odd hours and in unusual places far from their homes, such as all-night prayers in isolated ‘prayer mountains’ or secluded lodges, and night-time crusades.”
Rado said his wife was put under pressure to bring money to the church. She was enticed to cross the border to buy and sell, as she was unemployed.
“At first, my wife travelled with other women in a group. Later, my wife became involved with a man in the church who caused her to run away from home. The man had no wife and my wife was brainwashed to think that he could marry her if she left me. She went back to her parents’ and stayed there for a while. She started drawing maintenance from me. Luckily, I work for a bank and they gave me a loan. The boyfriend lost interest in her as soon as she fell pregnant and she came back to me. Now, I am taking care of a child that is not mine, all because of Makandiwa’s set-up. My wife said she will not go back there because she knows how much they used her,” Rado said.
Now Daily was also told that men and women who want to marry have to seek ‘approval’ from UFIC elders, who, in general discourage members from looking outside the church.
“I had my guy, who was my colleague at work but attended a different church. The elders at UFIC demanded to meet him. He came to the church but I was told that he was not the right guy. I was encouraged to date another man, a divorcee who was related to one of the pastors,” said one woman.
Several women told us they were told to choose a husband from a given pool or marry a designated individual. The women were told not to entertain suitors from outside UFIC as that amounted to being “unequally yoked” with non-believers. Many had resorted to smuggling their ‘unsaved’ boyfriends and girlfriends to the church to impress church elders.
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