…Ten days of mourning were declared
THE bishop and leader of the Zion City Apostolic Church (ZCAC), Batison Filimon Gama, died at the age of 94.
Gama served the church for over 35 years and was buried last Saturday in Albert’s, Mashonaland Central, after 10 days of mourning.
Gama had faced opposition from other Christian groups, which accused ZCAC of practising traditional culture, which led to a loss of followers.
Internal power-hungry rivals, who wanted to be beneficiaries of tithes and offerings, also posed a challenge to the church.
Despite facing various attempts on his life, and the deaths of six children, Gama remained steadfast and continued his mission to spread the word of God.
Today there are branches of ZCAC countrywide and followers in Malawi, Zambia, South Africa and Botswana.
A close relative, Theron Pini, said Gama became bishop of the church in 1987.
“The church was rocked by infighting, as some leaders wanted to shove Gama aside so that they could benefit from tithes and offerings.
“There were three known attempts on Bishop Gama’s life through food poisoning, and the death of his six children was also viewed with suspicion and as a ploy to derail him,” said Pini.
He said they were happy that ZCAC is recognised by the Government as a genuine Christian church and is registered by the African Christian Council of Zimbabwe (formerly the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe).
Gama was born on July 28, 1929, in Chikafa village, in the Ntcheu area of Malawi.
He was baptised in 1941 and he relocated to Mutorashanga where he was employed as a mine worker.
He started his church in 1955 after attracting many followers at his healing and preaching sessions.