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HomeNewsMadzibaba Ishmael mocks state as trial continues

Madzibaba Ishmael mocks state as trial continues

Ronald Nyandoro

Self-styled prophet and Johane masowe apostolic sect leader, Ishmael Chokurongerwa and his seven accomplices who are facing allegations of contravening Sections of the Burial and Cremation Act as well as the Children’s Act appeared before Norton Magistrates Court yesterday with all the accused persons mocking the state for crying more than the bereaved.

The accused claim the victims are not lodging any complaints of what transpired at Lily farm.

Chokurongerwa (54), Takavengwa Gwenzi (55), Siribiniyo Chikunhire (53), Wonder Kabaya (41), Devlodge Katsande (48), Zebedia Sigudu (49), Aaron Chokurongerwa (47) and Shingirai Ngavafume (42), all from Lilly Farm in Nyabira are facing three counts of ill-treating children, conducting a burial without a burial order and failing to give notice of the birth and death of a person.

In their defence, the accused persons submitted that they did not have a guardian obligation on the minors, hence it was not their duty to take care of them.

They highlighted that none of the alleged victims nor their parents have lodged a complaint with the police, hence the State should not be crying more than the bereaved.

They further stated that they did not conduct any burial of any person without notifying authorities.They also submitted that they were not the only adults at Lily Farm.

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District public prosecutor, Advocate Tafara Chirambira and prosecutor Sheila Mupindu called their second witness, an officer from the births and deaths registration department Farai Gatusa who went to Lily farm on the day.

Gatusa testified that when they visited the farm they were hindered in conducting their duties by Madzibaba Ishmael.

They observed graves shown to them by the first acccused and about 48 children did not have birth certificates.

He also rebuffed the birth certificates shown to him by the accused’s lawyers as being documents that were only showing to have been obtained in June 2024 after their visit early March.

Gatusa, state witness indicated that he questioned the authenticity of the birth certificates as they were uncertified copies only shown to him now and they incidentally were all issued on the same day presumably to counter the offence as in June the trial had already started.

The state also led the village head Nzwanai Musonza who confirmed that he would occasionally be called by the accused persons to officiate at the funerals and he thought they would have notified the authorities.

He was shocked to learn that no action was taken to inform authorities by the leaders who stand as accused persons.

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Trial continues and state yet to lead more witnesses.

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Journalist based in Harare

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