In the latest development of events, the Harare City Council is set to revoke licences for some bars which are making noise and it will now require Churches to soundproof their buildings before moving on site, a daily tabloid the Herald of August 20, reported.
The outgoing council petitioned the city to come up with a holistic programme to deal with noise pollution especially from bars and churches, which is disturbing peace in various suburbs.
City corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme said noise pollution had become one of the biggest challenges in the city.
“Church noisemakers seem to assume they have a right to make everyone hear their word,” he said.
“Other residents may not be interested, hence the word is considered as noise. All church structures must have soundproofing to avoid disturbing the peace of surrounding communities.
“Nightclubs should also be noise-proof. Goings on in the bar should not disturb the peace of those not in the bar. There is need to respect the peace of others in all that we do.”
If this is fully implemented, Zimbabwe will join other African states like Rwanda, who earlier this year clamped down about 700 churches for defecting to adhere to construction regulations and for noise pollution.
Rwandan government official Justus Kangwagye told BBC‘s Focus on Africa programme that they simply required the churches to meet “modest standards’ and that some denominations have already reopened after inspectors approved them.
Christianity Today revealed that under this new law, hoped to be adopted by year’s end, churches must also obtain government certification that building requirements—such as adequate plumbing and parking—have been met and renew it annually.
While the move was endorsed by many who do not conform with the nature and some ‘bizarre’ practices of some of these ‘new church sects’, it also prompted the question of religious freedom in Africa as this occasion is not the first time African authorities have encroached into religious freedom in recent years.
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