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Presidency disowns fake Madzibaba Ishmael release statement

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba has unequivocally refuted a statement supposedly issued by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, which directed law enforcement agents to release Madzibaba Ishmael Chokurongerwa and his co-accused immediately.

In a post on X captioning the fake statement, Charamba, the Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet (Presidential Communications) said:

They will try all sorts of propaganda, what they can never do is to match the house style of OPC!

The fake statement, titled “Presidential Directive: Release of Ishmael Chokurongerwa and Co-accused”, reads:

Esteemed citizens, under the authority vested in the Presidency by Section 56 (1) of our esteemed constitution, it is directed that Madzibaba Ishmael Chokurongerwa and his co-accused be released forthwith.

The Presidency holds the firm belief that the allegations against these individuals, charged with purported violations of the Burial and Cremation Act and the Children’s Act, stemming from the discovery of 251 school-age children engaged in manual labour at their agricultural enterprise, alongside the presence of 16 unregistered graves, lack substantial merit.

It is worth noting that Madzibaba Ishmael has played a significant role within the Mapostori community during the recent electoral campaign.

In this regard, the President wishes to emphasize to the public the importance of refraining from attaching undue criticism to other religious affiliations and warns against the dissemination of false information.

Chokurongerwa and his seven co-accused appeared before Norton magistrate Ms Christine Nyandoro. The court denied them bail, and they were remanded in custody until April 4 for routine proceedings.

Also Read: UZ Prof Muwati was buried alive by Madzibaba Ishmael

The charges against them stem from alleged violations of the Burial and Cremation Act and the Children’s Act.

The co-accused are members of the Johane Masowe-aligned Gore Jena Penyera Nyika. Their names include Shingirai Ngawafune (42), Takavengwa Gwenzi (55), Zebedia Sigudu (49), Devlodge Katsande (47), Wonder Kabaya (41), and Siribinio Chikurunhe (53). All were represented by lawyer Purity Chikanganise during the court proceedings.

The State alleges that Chokurongerwa and his associates conducted funeral services for Hazel Chikunhire and Winlet Kabaya without obtaining proper burial orders for the deceased. This violation raises serious legal concerns, as proper documentation is essential for respectful and lawful burials.

Furthermore, the sect leaders, who acted as guardians for the children residing at the church’s compound in Nyabira, are accused of neglecting, abandoning, and exposing the children to conditions likely to cause unnecessary suffering. The welfare of these vulnerable children is at the heart of the charges brought against the accused.

In a related incident, police raided the farm where the sect operated and rescued 251 children. Shockingly, 246 of these children were found to have no birth certificates, highlighting potential issues related to their legal identity and rights.

Additionally, during the investigation, authorities discovered 16 graves near Madzibaba Ishmael’s shrine. These graves were determined to belong to nine adults and seven children. The circumstances surrounding these burials remain a subject of scrutiny.

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