Nyemudzai Kakore Herald Reporter
United Family International Church founder and leader Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa has been cleared of any wrongdoing following an investigation by the Registrar-General’s Office into the holding of a mass wedding where the popular preacher ‘blessed’ more than 600 couples last December in the capital.
The RG’s Office carried out the probe after it expressed concern over the alleged issuance of marriage certificates to the couples.
However, the RG’s Office concluded that all the couples who took part at the mass wedding event were already married at the magistrates courts.
Registrar-General Mr Tobaiwa Mudede said after investigations by the registrar of marriages, Mr Gorden Tsuro, his office found that the certificates written ‘Marriage Blessing Certificates’ and issued out by Prophet Makandiwa were not legally binding.
“I wish to respond to newspaper articles which appeared in the press in December where Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa was alleged to have solemnised 606 couples. ‘The Registrar Generals Department does not condone solemnisation of mass weddings of any kind,” he said.
“Investigations which were carried out by the department however established that what actually took place was not solemnisation but it was a church blessing of married couples who already had marriage certificates.”
The RG’s Office investigated the mass wedding case as cautionary measure in the wake of widespread reports of some unscrupulous marriage officers who were facilitating illegal marriages of convenience mainly involving Zimbabweans and foreigners seeking to stay in the country. Mudede banned mass weddings in 2012 after reports of these cases emerged.
The Registrar General warned UFIC church members that the certificates issued could not be used either in the application for passports or divorce papers.
He said mass weddings remained banned and his office will continue to keep a watchful eye over such events.
“I wish to emphasise that mass weddings are not permitted,” Mr Mudede said.
“We are still carrying out further investigations just in case somebody cheated. Anyone who violates our regulations will be prosecuted.”