By Tarisai Machakaire and Tendai Kamhungira
Victory World International Ministries Church leader Paul Sanyangore is facing rape charges after a congregant reported a case against him in June this year.
The Daily News can report that a woman, whose age could not be determined at the time of going to print, filed a report at Waterfalls Police Station alleging she was raped by the charismatic preacher.
But ever since the report was made, it has not been brought to court for prosecution amid claims that the complainant in the matter has not been available to pursue the case, forcing Sanyangore’s lawyers to demand the case’s closure.
The police have, however, said the docket could only be closed at court, resulting in the matter being brought before the Harare Magistrates’ Courts for vetting in the absence of Sanyangore and the complainant.
Procedurally, the prosecution could not initiate vetting for a record to be opened to have Sanyangore in the dock in the absence of both parties. Therefore the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) could not dispose the case in the absence of the parties involved.
Efforts to get the official position from the NPA were fruitless as Prosecutor-General Ray Goba declined to comment on the issue.
“ . . . to respond to cases being handled by NPA is simply not my job,” Goba said.
The Daily News’ attempt to get a comment from the woman on the circumstances surrounding the case could not yield results yesterday as her mobile phone was not reachable.
“When the complainant reported the matter to the police she never came back to do a follow-up, which would have enabled the case to be brought before the court for trial,” a source close to the case told the Daily News yesterday.
“According to the girl’s narration, she claimed she was raped in 2014 after she went to see the charismatic preacher for prayers and one of Sanyangore’s brothers knew about it.
“The girl only resuscitated the case this year following claims that she had been influenced by Sanyangore’s brother after the relationship between the two turned sour. There are also claims that Sanyangore could have been in love with the girl, although details are not very clear on that aspect,” an authoritative source privy to the case said.
A self-proclaimed former “drunkard”, Sanyangore comes from a family of five — two boys and three girls.
He founded Victory World International Ministries in February 2014 together with his wife “prophetess” Amanda. He has two boys with his wife.
He started his ministry in Mbare, but has managed to build a massive house in Houghton Park, where his church is now headquartered at a wing called International Victory Centre.
The self-styled prophet gained infamy after he was filmed supposedly “talking to God” on the phone during a church service.
Sanyangore, 32, claimed to have the Lord on speed dial and chats with him in front of his congregation — who appear to be very impressed.
In the clip, Sanyangore, looking resplendent in a three-piece grey suit, chats through a Public Address system microphone, using a mobile phone to answer questions from “Papa God.”
The bizarre video was filmed at Victory World International Church in Bulawayo.
He can be seen calling a woman from the crowd, she then kneels down, at which point he begins to receive instruction from “heaven.”
Sanyangore says on the phone: “Hello, is this heaven? I have a woman here, what do you have to say about her?”
After a supposed snap chat with God, Sanyangore tells the woman: “He says we should pray for your children, two of them.
“He is saying the other one is epileptic, the other one is asthmatic.”
“What else, Papa God?” he adds, before telling the woman: “Heaven is online. God is telling me to tell you that your story has changed.”
The crowd erupts into cheers and clapping in uproarious applause as the pastor triumphantly paces up and down.
Sanyangore said: “I have a direct channel, actually I have His (God’s) number and I can call Him when need arises.
“It is possible to talk to God; why would you doubt that I got a call from Him?
“I actually have a direct line which I can call Him on and get instructions on how to proceed.
“I got this when I was praying and I heard a voice telling me to call directly.”
He claims that he will make God’s number available to the public “when the time is right”.
Sanyangore’s cousin, Andy Zimunya, has alleged that he fakes miracles.
But Sanyangore has said “from TD Jakes to Joel Osteen to even the Lord Jesus Himself, all these were called fake so I am in good company”.
The controversial self-styled prophet has given his congregants anointed condoms, made them drink anointed sewage, claimed to have raised a dead child, and also claimed he could make angels descend on a swimming pool.
Of late, pastors have been making headlines for allegedly raping their congregants, with many claiming that physical battles and sexual abuses in churches have brought more suffering than solace that is normally expected with church institutions.
Independent End Time Message founder Robert Martin Gumbura is currently languishing in prison after he was convicted on charges of raping his congregants.
He is serving a 40-year-jail term.
Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries leader Walter Magaya has also been dragged to court on rape allegations that have not yet been finalised by the courts.
Over the years, some church leaders have also been subjected to rape trials.
One of such men is the late spiritual healer and Johane Masowe Wechishanu faction leader Godfrey Pegnick Nzira.
Nzira was released from jail on medical grounds in 2011, while he was serving a 20-year jail term for rape.
He had been slapped with a 42-year prison term in March 2003, after he was convicted on seven counts of rape and one of indecent assault involving two women.
Part of the sentence was suspended on condition of good behaviour, while a further 12 years were slashed by the High Court on appeal.
Another Johane Masowe weChishanu Apostolic Church (Marondera) sect leader Lawrence Katsiru was also released from prison after successfully filing an appeal at the High Court.
The politician was released after the prosecution conceded that he was wrongfully convicted on allegations of raping a teenage church member. Daily News