By Tendai Rupapa
Four self-styled prophets who operate from different shrines in Harare last week appeared in court on allegations of raping women who had visited their shrines for spiritual help. Wellington Kadzviti (29), Trymore Chezhara (26), Herbert Senda (34) and Clifford Chimusoro (52), appeared before magistrate Ms Tilda Mazhande on separate records charged with rape.
Kadzviti, Chimusoro and Chezhara, are facing an additional charge of kidnapping.
In connivance with Blessing Chimbadza and Muchineripi Utete, the gang allegedly kidnapped two of their victims and assaulted them while tying their hands before forcing them to withdraw the charges.
It is alleged that they also kidnapped their former churchmate, Senda who is also facing a charge of rape accusing him of conniving with the women who had reported rape cases against Chimusoro, Kadzviti and Chezhara.
Chimusoro allegedly raped his victim at gunpoint. They all appeared before Ms Mazhande and were released on bail with the State’s consent to April 11.
Prosecuting, Ms Linda Gadzikwa told the court that a woman who was suffering from stomach problems, visited Kadzviti at his shrine seeking spiritual help.
Kadzviti is said to have given the woman a clay plate and told her to return in the evening. When she returned, Kadzviti allegedly poured some substance into the clay plate and ordered her to drink. After drinking the substance, the woman fell unconscious and Kadzviti allegedly took advantage and raped her.
Sometime last year, Chezhara was at his shrine when a woman who also had stomach pains approached him. It is alleged Chezhara asked her to bring lemons and honey and she complied.
When the complainant brought the requested items, Chezhara allegedly took her to a place in Budiriro 4 saying that is where he wanted to “prepare” the prayers. When they arrived, Chezhara allegedly raped the woman.
Senda, the State alleged, raped a congregant who was staying at his shrine while receiving prayers. On the day in question, the woman allegedly washed Senda’s church garments in the morning. Senda later accompanied her to a house in Budiriro 4 in Harare so that she could do the ironing.
While returning to the shrine at around 11pm, it is alleged Senda stopped his vehicle and moved from his seat to where the victim was seated.
He then raped her, it is alleged. The State further alleged that Chimusoro raped his victim at gunpoint in September last year. On the kidnapping charge, the gang committed the offence on March 13 this year.
After forcing the victims into their car with their hands tied, the gang drove to Harare Central Police and untied the victims before force marching them into the police station.
The ordered the women to withdraw the charges, the court heard. They were then referred to Southerton Police Station where the women signed withdraw affidavits out of fear.
When they were released, the women rushed to Epworth Police Station where they narrated their story. The Herald