Zimbabwe News

Village headman urges government to shut down Madzibaba Ishmael’s church

Headman lnzwanai Musonzwa of Mhondoro village in Mashonaland West Province has urged the government to shut down Madzibaba Ishmael Chokurongerwa’s religious sect, which is accused of rampant violation of children’s rights to education, health, and access to birth certificates.

Several Johanne Masowe eChishanu Apostolic religious sect members, including Madzibaba Ishmael, were arrested recently.

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

Speaking to NewZimbabwe.com, Headman Musonzwa said that Madzibaba Ishmael’s sect allows child marriages and abuse of minors, which affects many underage children in the village.

He said the Government must enforce laws, which protect and fight for the rights of children and women. Said the traditional leader:

Child marriages are happening at the church, therefore l am asking for the protection of children from abuse. Many underage girls are being married off and falling pregnant, with some dying at the shrine during childbirth since they are not allowed to seek medical attention at hospitals.

The headman claimed that Madzibaba Ishmael’s church promotes the abuse of women and girls since it permits polygamy.

Not only does the sect permit polygamous marriages, but it also allows men to marry as many wives as they wish, sharing one bedroom and openly expressing intimacy.

The headman’s wife, Alice Chapungu, who is also a village health worker, pleaded with the Ministry of Health and Childcare to ensure that all minors get the healthcare they need. She said:

The church forbids children and adults alike from going to hospitals when they fall sick and this is leading to early and preventable deaths, mostly among children.

As a village health worker l fight for the rights of the children. I want every child to be safe, healthy, and able to attend school.

So if we get help from various government arms, things will normalise for children in the Nyabira area.

In a related development, two women from Madzibaba Ishmael’s apostolic sect who recently appeared in court facing allegations of human trafficking were released on US$50 bail each by Harare magistrate Donald Ndirowei.

Danai Tigere (56) and Veronica Chitanda (40), were arrested after they were allegedly caught harbouring nine women who are believed to be key witnesses in the case that led to their leader’s arrest.

Back to top button