THE burial of the Johane Marange Apostolic sect leader, High Priest St Noah Taguta Momberume has taken a new twist after an application for a prohibitory interdict order was filed and awarded today (Wednesday) at the Magistrates Court in Mutare.
The late High Priest St Noah Taguta (82) who passed away over the weekend after a long illness, was expected to be buried today in Mafararikwa, Marange at their church headquarters and shrine, after being accorded a State-assisted funeral by President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday. High Priest Taguta led the church for the past 30 years after being ordained in July 1992.
The longstanding feud between brothers, the late Noah Taguta Momberume and Clements Momberume has proven to be unstoppable, even in death, the grudge lingers. Through his lawyers of Maunga Maanda and Associates, Clements Momberume, filed for a prohibitory interdict order, case number 353/22, with Saratiel Taguta and Titos Taguta as the first and second respondents respectively. Saratiel and Titos are brothers to the late High Priest.
The matter has been set down for further hearing on April 29, but an interim relief order was granted by Mutare magistrate Langton Mukwengi. In the application by Clements, he sought for an order for the first and second respondents to be barred from interfering with the gravesite of his father, the late Johane Muchabaya Momberume at the south western side of the Chinyamukumba mountain range or the sacred summit of the mountain range in Taguta village, under Headman Mafararikwa, Chief Marange.
“Pending the return day of this matter, the 1st and 2nd respondents, their agents and proxies be, are hereby barred from pointing, marking and preparing for burial the grave of the late Noah Taguta (Momberume) or burying him at the burial site of the late Johane Muchabaya Momberume, which is at the south side of the western side of the Chinyamukumba mountain range in Taguta village, Headman Mafararikwa, Chief Marange, “ read the interim relief order granted by magistrate Mukwengi.
The order further stated that the first and second respondents are barred from burying the late Noah Taguta at the sacred summit of the Chinyamukumbu mountain range. According to information gathered by Easterntimeszim, the interim relief was supposed to have been served by the Messenger of Court this morning, but proof of the return of service at the clerk of court had not yet been confirmed by time of going to press at 12pm. Efforts to contact the Taguta family spokesperson who is also the late High Priest’s son, Phillip Taguta were also unsuccessful.
The late High Priest Taguta, who was affectionately called Mutumwa by his followers passed away on Sunday afternoon, reportedly around lunch time.
Clements is the direct sibling of the late Johane (Marange) Momberume who was the founder of the apostolic church and runs a splinter sect called the Johane Marange (Simon branch). The late High Priest St Noah was the son of Arnold Momberume who was an elder brother to founder Johane Momberume.
Clements as the direct sibling of the founder Johane Momberume is thus claiming that the late St Noah must not be buried at the sacred summit in question where the founder Johane was buried, but anywhere else on Chinyamukumba mountain range or where the late St Noah’s father Arnold was buried. The matter will resume in court on April 29.
President Mnangagwa yesterday declared that the late St Noah be given a State-assisted funeral. “On behalf of Government, the People of Zimbabwe, and on my own behalf, I wish to express my deep, heartfelt condolences to the Taguta Family on this their saddest loss. He was a spiritual father of our Nation which today shares their grief and joins them and the entire Church in bereavement. In recognition of his contribution to the spiritual and material well-being of our Nation, I have directed Government to accord the late Mutumwa Noah Taguta a State-assisted funeral,” read the message from the President.
President Mnangagwa also commended on how the late High Priest St Noah was a visionary leader that was able to transform the dream of their father and founder of the Johane Marange church.
“I received with deep grief and sorrow the death yesterday of Mutumwa Noah Taguta, the High Priest of Johanne Marange Apostolic Church, after a long illness. A devout Christian and staunch messenger of God, the late Mutumwa Noah was a truly begotten spiritual child of the Church founded by late Johanne Marange, which he transformed into a strong, sub-regional movement of God’s faithfuls covering Southern, East and Central Africa.”
Adding, “Such a massive movement of believers drawn from diverse nationalities and cultures required inspired leadership which only he alone could provide. We greatly admired his commitment to the Word and his exceptional leadership, through which our country Zimbabwe is now a well-known spiritual epicentre on the African Continent. I have very vivid memories of my visits to his Headquarters in Mafararikwa, in rural Marange which he transformed into a continental shrine and home to God’s faithfuls,” read the condolence message.
The Johane Marange sect has been known to go against court orders in past cases, so whether the interim order will be followed remains a saga yet to unravel at the burial today.
The church was founded and named after its founder, Johanne Marange (Momberume) in 1932. Johane was born in 1912 and died in 1963 in Marange where his parents were from royal families. It is one of the largest African Independent Churches with largely African adherents, blending local traditions with Christianity. To-date, the Johanne Marange religious formation has spread to southern, central and east Africa, as well as to Europe, particularly the United Kingdom.
Church members believe that Johanne Marange, the founder, received the church’s charter, its rules and practices through the Holy Spirit. The church has strict obligations for the Sabbath day, or Saturday, and that members are not allowed to work on that day. Members must not handle money on Saturdays or cook on the Sabbath day. This is in line with the Jewish sabbatical laws in the Bible. The use of alcoholic beverages and the smoking of cigarettes are prohibited, as they are considered as defiling to the body.
The church has also been controversial over the years for not only promoting polygamy and polygamous marriage, in line with traditional African as well as ancient Jewish cultural traditions, but promoting child marriages as well. For support and legitimization of polygamous marriage, the church draws on Biblical examples of the Israelite progenitors of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and Solomon, who are regarded as exemplary forebears of faith in God.