The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Probe Sect's Abuse Reports, Govt Urges Police

Government has urged the police to thoroughly investigate allegations of widespread abuse of women and children that were recently reported at the Johanne Masowe eChishanu Budiriro 2 based sect and bring the perpetrators to book. Last Friday, seven police officers in anti-riot gear, journalists and members of the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe were seriously injured when the sect's members attacked them with knobkerries, sticks and stones.

This was after ACCZ president Archbishop Johannes Ndanga, announced that the sect had been banned from operating in Zimbabwe because it violated national and Christian laws.

Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development Minister Oppah Muchinguri, said in an interview yesterday, that there was need to institute investigations on individuals who were abusing women and children.

Evidence would be critical to prosecute the perpetrators.

"It is very important to instigate investigations," she said. "We need thorough investigations on the individuals behind all these allegations.

"We don't condemn churches, but there are some individuals who join some churches with hidden agendas.

"So, let's deal with cases on individual basis."

Minister Muchinguri said those found on the wrong side of the law should be prosecuted and "face the music".

She said some of the perpetrators were harassing women and children with impunity, violating the country's laws.

There was need to educate some apostolic sects on the country's laws.

The sect's leader Madzibaba Ishmael Mufani is believed to be hiding at secluded areas in Harare, with 28 of his members having appeared in court facing charges of assault.

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