By Tendai Chara
Mudzidzi Wimbo (born Aaron Mhukuta), the leader of the Johane Masowe Vadzidzi VaJesu Church, is an enigma. The cleric is mysterious, puzzling and often misunderstood.
Mudzidzi Wimbo shot to prominence in 1980 after a prophecy he made in 1957 came to pass. The prophet had pronounced that independent Zimbabwe would be led by a man with the name of an angel Gabriel and in 1980, President Robert Gabriel Mugabe was elected into office.
The fulfilment of that prophecy shot Mudzidzi, who was then an ordinary member of the sect, into the spotlight. But that prophecy has also brought grief, sorrow and sleepless nights to the 94 year-old. In recent years, claims have been made that he was abducted by church members and was living in captivity at the sect’s shrine in Shamva, Mashonaland Central.
Other claims were that top State security officers were holding him hostage for obscure political reasons. Murder, assault and multiple cases of arson have also been associated with the group, one of the largest churches in Mashonaland Central.
A recent report in one private daily which claims Mudzidzi Wimbo has prophesied that an “outsider” will succeed President Mugabe could well be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
According to the article, Mudzidzi Wimbo allegedly said that the person who will next lead Zimbabwe will have a “foreign name” and “there will be great suffering” in the country. The military, according to the article, would intervene.
Mudzidzi Wimbo has had enough – and he wants to be left in peace.
“You reporters have been writing falsehoods, claiming that I am living in a toilet and that I can no longer walk, but crawl. All I can say to you is that those preaching the falsehoods must leave me in peace,” Mudzidzi, who is still fit for his age, said.
A clearly agitated Mudzidzi abruptly ended the interview and delegated Shepherd Chingwena, Zex Pamacheche and Eddison Mukohwa, three of the sect’s top four leaders to speak on his behalf.
“Mudzidzi is not happy with these false stories. He wants to be known for healing and bringing education and not for predicting national leaders.
“As you have seen he spends most of his time healing the sick,” Chingwena said. Chingwena refuted reports that Mudzidzi made prophecies regarding succession politics.
“Where was the prophecy made and who was there? All the other prophecies were made during church services. Furthermore, Mudzidzi does not speak in riddles when making pronouncements, he mentions names. The newspaper article does not mention the source of the story because there is no such source,” Chingwena added.
He said contrary to what some politicians believe, Mudzidzi was not a political player.
“Mudzidzi is not a political analyst nor is he there primarily to make prophecies related to politics. He never prophesised about leadership in any party. Any sane person knows that the party’s leaders are elected at national congresses and are not prophesied,” Chingwena added.
The church leadership believes that, for some reasons, some politicians are trying to force Mudzidzi Wimbo to make false political prophesies. “It is known that Mudzidzi endorsed President Mugabe in 2018. He told us to support and pray for President Mugabe. The people that are making the false pronouncements want to cause friction between our church and Zanu-PF.
“In 2005, Mudzidzi prophesied that the President will rule over Africa. The prophecy was fulfilled in 2015 when he assumed the African Union Chairmanship.
“He also prophesied, in 2002, that Morgan Tsvangirai will never become President of this country since he had sided with white imperialists,” said Chingwena.
Pamecheche weighed in: “Mudzidzi also foretold that the local currency will be at par with the United States dollar. The bond note and the United States dollar are currently at par.” According to Pamacheche, Mudzidzi’s major role is to lead the sect and not to predict political leaders.
“Mudzidzi‘s mandate is to heal the sick, treat mental illnesses, infertility and cases related to witchcraft. Unlike other prophets who claim to cure all types of ailments, Mudzidzi refers cases like malaria to health institutions.” Mukohwa said Mudzidzi Wimbo in 2004 foretold the construction of modern educational facilities at the shrine.
Mukohwa said the prophecy was fulfilled in 2015 after the sect constructed a double storey classroom block at the shrine. Their secondary school has an enrolment of 117 students from Form One to Three. Mudzidzi Wimbo’s shrine is located in Pfute Village under Chief Madziva and is about 20km from Mt Darwin.
At any given time, hundreds of congregants are at the shrine, seeking healing and deliverance from their leader. The church was formed in 1931 by Shonhiwa Sixpence, who was originally from Gandanzara in Manicaland. The next leader of the church was Mudyiwa Dzangare from Chiweshe who handed over the spiritual leadership of the church to Madzibaba Wimbo in 1987.
“We are facing trying times. We must pray for peace and development,” concluded Chingwena. The Sunday Mail