The constitution prohibits religious discrimination and provides for freedom of religion, including the freedom to practice, propagate, and give expression to one’s religion, whether in public or in private and whether alone or together with others. The government provided police support to a religious leader closely allied with the ruling party when he visited the shrine of the Johanne Masowe Apostolic Church in Budiriro and attempted to ban the group, which was accused of committing abuses against women and children. The government arrested and charged members of the apostolic group in Budiriro after clashes with police. The detainees, later released on bail, accused the police of torturing them while in custody. A court sentenced four group members to four-year prison terms while acquitting 26 others. Several days after the clash, police led a crowd in attacking and destroying the apostolic group’s Budiriro shrine.
In late June individuals reported to be supporters of the ruling party destroyed the homes of four leaders of the Johanne Masowe Apostolic Church in Gomo. As in the previous year, some Christian groups blamed indigenous Christian groups, particularly the apostolic community in Marange, for increasing HIV/AIDS rates by discouraging condom use and preventing HIV/AIDS education, as well as encouraging polygamy with young girls.
The U.S. embassy engaged government officials, religious leaders, and faith-based organizations to discuss the status of religious freedom in the country.