HARARE – ELEVEN of the 37 members of the apostolic sect church led by Madzibaba Ishmael’s Mafani were yesterday jailed for four years after they were found guilty of assaulting police, members of the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe and journalists at their Budiriro shrine on May 30.
Kudzanayi Tichaona Kusekwa, Cabson Chandaona, Takavengwa Gwenzi, Tichafa Madyegora, Johannes Makumbe, Ndumiso Moyo, Clement Chimutso, Madzimure Madzimure, Charles Matanga, Darlington Mambayo and Paul Mupikata were each jailed for five years when they appeared before magistrate Tendai Mahwe.
The court set aside a year on each’s sentence on condition that they will not commit a similar offence within that period.
Some of the convicted members were identified by their victims during the trial.
In sentencing the eleven, magistrate Mahwe said that the courts should sent a message that unlawfulness was not allowed.
“The court has noted that they acted in connivance and assaulted members of the police, ACCZ and journalists using stones and sticks.
“A mob assault is very dangerous and it may lead to loss of life. You are church people and you have put the church’s name into disrepute.
“You assaulted police who were in uniform and there’s need for the court to send a message and the message should be that unlawfulness in not allowed in this country.
“A lengthy form of imprisonment is therefore appropriate to show that such acts of abhorrent,” said the court.
The other members were acquitted of the public violence charges they were facing.
The State led by Francesca Mukumbiri proved during trial that the aforementioned convicts were at the shrine on May 30 when at around 11:30hours when ACCZ president Bishop Johannes Ndanga, his delegation, 26 cops from ZRP Budiriro and the Police Reaction Group visited them.
Bishop Ndanga and his delegation wanted to address the apostolic sect’s members over issues of denying their children from attending school among other issues.
The ACCZ president started reading out the document to the vapostori who then demanded that he do so in Shona arguing that they were not understanding the language he was using.
Bishop Ndanga is also said to have ordered the cops to arrest one member who was interjecting him as he was reading the document.
At that moment, the vapostori started singing a song called “Umambo hwepfumo neropa”.The congregants then stood up and charged towards Bishop Ndanga, his delegation, cops and journalists attacking them in the process.
All the male congregants were armed with sticks about a metre long.