Traffic came to a standstill on the main road (Road D3669) leading to the Headquarters of the United African Apostolic Church on Sunday 19 January 2020 as thousands of church members braved the drizzling rain and severe cold weather, to attend the Cleansing ceremony at the Holy Palace.
Rumors were already doing the rounds that the cleansing ceremony will be followed by the long awaited announcement regarding the leadership of the church following the death of the late leader, Archbishop Dr Elias Muthuhadini Mureri, in December 2018 who led the church for 40 years (1978 – 2018).
As church members were singing, dancing and praising the Lord at the main structure outside the temple, the church elders mainly comprising of Bishops and members of the Church Senate and the National Executive committee were busy at work performing the Cleansing ceremony. Thereafter, the Prince, Itani Joseph Mureri, who was nominated by Vho-Makhadzi (his late Father‘s biological Sisters), in consultation with the Senate, took the oath of office of the Archbishop of the United African Apostolic Church at his Father‘s private residence.
After these two important ceremonies were concluded, an entourage of bishops and church elders led by Bishop Nemakonde left the private residence of the late Archbishop and made their way into the main structure were they were welcomed by deafening ululations, honking horns and huge applauses by loyal church members who were conspicuously determined to wait until they could be addressed by their leaders.
In no time, members of the National Executive Committee led by Chairman Rev Solomon Nelufhangani arrived. They thanked the people for braving the unfavorable weather conditions and their overwhelming turn out despite the short notice or invitation to the function.
The church‘s Director of Communications, Rev Mbulaheni Nenzhelele, took to the podium and began to address members. He informed church members that the Cleansing ceremony has been seamlessly concluded in the private residence of the late Archbishop. He also made it very clear that it is now an open secret that there are two churches, namely the UAAC and the UAACH. “The UAACH already had a leader while the UAAC didn’t have a leader”, he said to the acknowledgement of all the attendants.
He then handed the baton to the Chairman to make the much awaited announcement. “By the power vested in me, I hereby proclaim and present to you the Prince Mr IJ Mureri as the new leader of the United African Apostolic Church (UAAC), Rev Nelufhangani said”. The announcement was greeted with inexplicable joy, celebrations, ululations and the unceasing clapping of hands.
The pronouncement of the name of the Prince Itani Joseph Mureri as the new Archbishop of the United African Apostolic Church did not come as a surprise to many as the church uses the primogeniture practice for succession. This began in 1977 following the death of the church founder, Bishop Matsea Paul Mureri, who was succeeded by his first born son, Bishop Jeremiah Mureri. The practice was again followed in 1978 following the death of Bishop Jeremiah Mureri who was similarly succeeded by his first born son, Archbishop Dr Elias Muthuhadini Mureri. Now, Itani Joseph Mureri, the first born Son of Archbishop Dr Elias Muthuhadini Mureri is, as per this very well-established practice or pedigree, succeeding his Father in leading the church.
It was then announced that a formal enthronement ceremony will be conducted in due course. This is certainly poised to be the mother of all parties as multitudes of UAAC members in RSA, Zimbabwe and Botswana already expressed satisfaction and appreciation of the appointment.
The announcement was clearly blessed from above. Apart from the torrential rain, an unprecedented celebration by the late Archbishop‘s livestock was witnessed as the cows (Phedza) were observed in bucking, playful mood, in front of the departing crowds after the conclusion of the event.
Peace be unto all!