Zimbabwe News

Madzibaba Ishmael Chokurongerwa denied bail by the High Court

Madzibaba Ishmael Chokurongerwa (54), the leader of a Johanne Masowe eChishanu Apostolic religious sect, along with seven other co-accused individuals, appeared before the Harare High Court today to appeal the dismissal of their bail application by a Norton Magistrate.

While the High Court rejected Ishmael Chokurongerwa’s appeal, bail was granted to the remaining seven accused.

Tomorrow, on April 5, 2024, the seven accused persons are scheduled to appear in court for the determination of the proposed bail conditions.

The trial for all eight individuals will commence on May 7, 2024, at the Norton Magistrates’ Court.

The charges against them stem from alleged violations of the Burial and Cremation Act and the Children’s Act.

Chokurongerwa’s co-accused are Shingirai Ngawafune (42), Takavengwa Gwenzi (55), Zebedia Sigudu (49), Devlodge Katsande (47), Wonder Kabaya (41), and Siribinio Chikurunhe (53).

The State alleges that Chokurongerwa and his associates conducted funeral services for Hazel Chikunhire and Winlet Kabaya without obtaining proper burial orders for the deceased. This violation raises serious legal concerns, as proper documentation is essential for respectful and lawful burials.

Furthermore, the sect leaders, who acted as guardians for the children residing at the church’s compound in Nyabira, are accused of neglecting, abandoning, and exposing the children to conditions likely to cause unnecessary suffering. The welfare of these vulnerable children is at the heart of the charges brought against the accused.

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