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Madzibaba Ishmael, granted US$1 000 bail

Cultist Madzibaba Ishmael Exposed For Marrying 5 Underage Girls

Madzibaba Ishmael, granted US$1 000 bail

Ishmael Chokurongerwa, the leader of an Apostolic sect known as Madzibaba Ishmael, has been granted bail of US$1,000 by the High Court after spending close to two months in jail. His arrest stemmed from alleged breaches of the Burial and Children’s Act, marking a significant development in his legal ordeal.

Madzibaba Ishmael, aged 54, heads the Johanne Masowe Penyera Nyika sect, which gained notoriety following revelations of scandals within the church. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) revealed that the High Court released the self-proclaimed cleric and former convict after determining that there was no longer a risk of interference. However, strict bail conditions were imposed, requiring him to report to Nyabira Police Station three times a week.

“The court ruled that there was no longer any risk of interference with witnesses. He was ordered to reside at his given address until the matter is finalised and barred from conducting any church gatherings anywhere until the matter is finalised,” said the NPA.

Chokurongerwa’s arrest also led to the detention of seven other church elders from his sect, who were recently granted bail as well. Investigations into the sect unveiled troubling practices, including the alleged prohibition of sect members from obtaining birth certificates or attending school. Authorities claimed that children of school-going age were denied formal education and subjected to exploitation as cheap labor, performing manual tasks under the guise of life skills training.

ALSO READ: Madzibaba Ishmael: My Only Crime Is Taking Good Care Of 120 Families

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Further scrutiny revealed 16 undocumented graves at the Canaan shrine located in Nyabira, Mashonaland West province, raising additional concerns about the activities and practices within the sect.

“Investigations conducted by the police established that 246 out of 251 children below the age of 18 years found at the farm had no birth certificates and were being used to perform various physical activities for the benefit of the sect’s leadership,” said prosecutors.

Chokurongerwa’s bail signifies a legal shift in his case, yet it underscores the ongoing investigation into the sect’s activities and the need to address issues related to child welfare and adherence to legal protocols within religious organizations.

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