By Lance Guma
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GLASGOW – A 31-year old mother has opened up to Nehanda Radio about what she claims is the abuse she suffered at the hands of a Zimbabwean church based in Scotland “Agape for All Nations Ministries International” led by Archbishop Dr Walter Masocha.
Budding writing Jean Gasho told us “I want my story to be heard because people need to be made aware of the dangers of these arising Pentecostal churches and self-styled religious leaders and prophets who abuse people and take advantage of vulnerable people especially women.”
Gasho says the church left her with a broken marriage and homeless with three children after it allegedly subjected her to cruelty, abuse and bullying. Gasho and her husband of 11 years attended the church for two years in which she claims they became financially ruined as the church demanded all their wages.
“At one time my husband and I gave £600 to the church leader (Dr Masocha) on top of the other monies we were paying at Church and as a result we ended up with bailiffs (Messengers of Court) knocking on our door.
“Our financial situation was so serious that we could not afford to feed our three children and social services almost took the children from us and I attempted to take my own life and ended up in hospital as our situation was hopeless.
“Because I tried to take my own life, I started being bullied in the Church as the leaders said I was possessed and had demons that needed to be cast out. I wanted to leave the church because it was not helping me, we became worse off financially. But my husband insisted we had to continue going there,” she said.
Gasho said she was often restrained by male leaders without her consent as they said she was possessed. “If I refused to be part of the church the leaders said I was not normal and needed deliverance. At one point I found myself locked in a room and pinned to the floor by two men “praying for me,” she said.
“I told them that what they were doing was wrong and I wanted to go and sit in the car outside and they said it was not me talking but the demon in me.
“The final straw was when my mother in law Febbie Musuka and my sister in law Gertrude Musuka (who is a pastor in the church) called an ambulance for me to be sectioned in front of the whole church saying I was mental and not capable of looking after my children.
“They told the paramedics that I was a bad mother and was living in poverty and my children were malnourished. The paramedics found nothing mentally wrong with me or my children. They refused to section me and my sister in law who is a mental health nurse threatened to call the police.
“The police were called on the scene and they found nothing wrong with me. It was a cruel public humiliation that led to my husband being violent towards me and I fled my house with my 3 children.
“The police are currently investigating another case of sexual abuse I suffered in the church and my sister in law is currently being investigated by the Nursing Midwifery Council (NMC) for gross misconduct because she used her position as a mental health nurse to abuse me.
“The step daughter of the church leader (Sandra Masocha) also used to make me do her University School work towards her degree exams. I was told that if I did her university work I would get blessings from God because she was the step daughter of the Archbishop (Prophet), the Church leader.
“I reported the case to the University (Forth Valley College in Scotland) and they investigated her and found her guilty of Student Dishonesty thus she will not be graduating in her degree,” Gasho claimed.
So determined is Gasho she has set up her own blog to document her abuse at the hands of Agape for All Nations Ministries International and Archbishop Dr Walter Masocha.
Meanwhile some members of Agape have responded with their own blog “He is still my Dad” in which they seek to paint Gasho as a woman who suffers from mental illness.
Read the Agape members blog response: He is still my dad
The Agape members in their response wrote “hell has no fury like a scorned woman! This whole blog is evidence of such fury. You are bitter and twisted because a man of God did not descend to your level.
“You expected the man of God to fire the pastor on your behalf, to fire your sister in law with whom you had a problem with after you had abused your mother in law at a church service. In our Shona culture, we respect our mother in laws like a mother, but not you JEAN.
“You are bitter because even after training as a nurse you got fired when your sick mind began its play. Why did you leave the church you were in to join Agape church?
“You were a disgrace and no one could stand you so you moved to a new church where you acted in a manner which made those who sympathised with you and those who “thought” they knew you in sane moments. An ambulance was called because they wanted you to receive medical help, which you seriously need.
“As you pour your poison on the Masocha family, I want you to know that you will get no therapeutic healing or comfort. Instead you are showing the world a severely SICK mind that is desperately seeking for help.
“If what you allege was true, nothing would make it right even on your part, you were an adult, a married woman who must take responsibility of their actions.
“Those in Agape, reading this. Forgive Jean. I forgive her. Pray for Jean. Nothing is impossible with God. You know her works, you read her Christian book. She got attacked by the devil who feared her good work. As a writer, she was going to bring many souls to God. The devil saw this and attacked.”
Another entry on the Agape supporting blog by an unnamed church member says “It’s my testimony that Jean’s blog is unwarranted and without merit. It’s false despite a bit of true events it’s marred by malice and hatred.”
Meanwhile Girl Child Network founder Betty Makoni has warned Agape to “stop all the persecutions I see online and elsewhere. It is criminal and am trying to investigate why police and law enforcements agents have not moved in to arrest him as to my understanding a formal report has already been made.
“By testifying her case many cases that were once reported to me before have resurfaced. She is not the only one abused in the same church. A church is not a doctor to diagnose church members and stigmatise and label them. I am pursuing all channels as a gender activist to see to it that whoever the church is protecting as an abuser is brought to book.
“The UK is a place where everyone came to thrive and not get persecuted. I appeal to Zimbabwe members in UK never to support domestic violence perpetrators because that way we will lose lives of women and children. We are hoping African Pastors will land a hand in stopping their fellow Pastor from causing more harm on vulnerable members of the church,” Makoni said.
Several officials from Agape Ministries contacted by Nehanda Radio have kept up their official line that Gasho is not mentally stable and that we should not be interviewing her. Asked to respond to the allegations, we were initially promised a statement but this did not and has not arrived yet.
First we were told that Dr Masocha was away on business in Greece and this explained the delay in them issuing their statement. “We will have a meeting and give you a statement later,” said the official. Later on the official made a u-turn and said they would not be commenting on the matter.
We have received and continue to receive threats from different church members over the publication of this story.