Madzibaba Ishmael Chokurongerwa is the leader of a Budiriro 2 based Johanne Masowe eChishanu Apostolic religious sect. He is most known for having led the violent assault on members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police after being asked to disperse from their gathering in May 2014. Madzibaba Ishmael, who was reported to have led the attack on the police, fled as his church members were arrested. Police only caught him on 2 January 2015, after at least 7 months of being a fugitive.

Madzibaba Ishmael Chokurongerwa
Madzibaba Ishmael.jpg
Born Ishmael Chokurongerwa
Murehwa, Zimbabwe
Residence Budiriro, Harare, Zimbabwe
Other names Mufani
Occupation
  • Religious Leader
Relatives Leonard Chokurongerwa (brother)

Contents

Mental Illness

Madzibaba Ishmael's Budiriro neighbours were reported to have said that he suffered from a mental illness in 2008 and that one Madzibaba Enock of the Venguwo Tsvuku sect helped him recover. In an interview with the police in 2014, Madzibaba Enock said that he had severed relations with Madzibaba Ishmael after Ishamel started acting strange and calling himself God.[1]

Religious Beliefs

As leader of the religious sect, Madzibaba Ishmael's beliefs, which he passed to his followers included the following:

2014 Attack on Police

On 30 May 2014 leaders from the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ), in the company of 26 members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police anti-riot squad, visited a shrine where Madzibaba Ishmael and his followers were praying, with the intention to disperse them. They had members of the media with them (a ZBC cameramen and others). ACCZ president Archbishop Johannes Ndanga announced that the sect had been banned from operating in Zimbabwe because it violated national and Christian laws.[3]

Madzibaba Ishmael allegedly led an attack on police officers, members of the media and ACCZ leaders. The members of the sect beat the police using their religious staffs, sticks and stones while singing a religious song called Hondo yepfumo neropa (English Translation: War of the spear and blood). In total 7 officers in riot gear, journalists and members of the ACCZ were seriously injured.[3]

A police blitz that followed saw 37 members of the sect arrested but Madzibaba Ishmael fled. 11 of the 37 were later convicted in November 2014 and jailed for 4 years each for the crime. The 11 were: Kudzanayi Kusekwa (31), Cabson Chandaona (43), Takavengwa Gwenzi (46), Tichafa Madyegora (41), Johanes Makumbe (39), Ndumiso Moyo (33), Alexio Kanhema (37), Clement Chimutso (47), Madzimure Madzimure (36), Charles Matanga (42) and Darlington Mambayo (46).[4]

Of the 37 that went to trial, 26 sect members were acquitted after the State failed to prove a case against them.

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Madzibaba Ishmael's Arrest

Madzibaba Ishmael was arrested on 2 Jaunary 2015, after a successful raid by the Zimbabwe Republic Police at his homestead in Murehwa. He had been on the run for 7 months since he led the assaulting of police officers and journalists in Budiriro in May 2014. He was arrested on charges of Public Violence and violation of the Children’s Protection Act. Madzibaba Ishamel had earned himself the nickname Osama Bin Laden (The Islamic extremist leader) due to the ZRP failing to locate him for such a long time.

Madzibaba Ishmael was released on 21 January 2015 after Justice Garainesu Muwadze granted him a US$500 bail.[5] His first attempt to be granted bail flopped. Justice Muwadze ordered that Madzibaba Ishamel was supposed to report once a week at Budiriro Police Station and was also mandated to reside at his Budiriro house until his case had been brought to finality.[5]

Sentencing

Madzibaba was sentenced to 5 years in prison. 1 year was suspended on condition of good behavior and this left him to serve an effective 4-year jail term. The judgment was passed on the 29th of April 2015.[6]




References

  1. Police intensify search for Madzibaba Ishmael, The Herald, Retrieved:4 January 2015, Published:4 June 2014
  2. Kingstone Mapupu Madzibaba Ishmael tomuyanika -l Ari kuvaka musha kwaMurehwa, Kwayedza, Retrieved:4 January 2015, Published:13 June 2015
  3. 3.0 3.1 Latest: Police close in on Madzibaba Ishmael, The Herald, Retrieved:4 Jan 2015, Published:3 Jun 2014
  4. Madzibaba Ishmael Arrested, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, Retrieved:4 January 2015, Published:2 January 2015
  5. 5.0 5.1 Madzibaba Ishmael granted bail, The Herald, published:22 Jan 2015,retrieved:22 January 2015"
  6. T. Rupapa, Madzibaba Ishmael Jailed,The Herald, published:29 Apr 2015,retrieved:29 Apr 2015"