ABOUT 100 Zanu PF youths yesterday raided the shrine of controversial Johane Masowe weChishanu leader madzibaba Ishamael Mufani on the outskirts of Budiriro suburb, Harare, and destroyed all fabrics and clay pots they found on site, in apparent retaliation to the violent attack on nine police officers and journalists by the sect members last Friday.

The violent clashes occurred after about 26 police officers escorted officials from the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) to announce that the sect had been banned for gross child and women's rights abuses.

Before their raid, the Zanu PF youths led by provincial youth chairperson Godwin Gomwe marched in the streets of Budiriro high-density suburb singing and chanting slogans denouncing Mufani and his followers. Gomwe told the youths that beating up police officers was tantamount to beating up Zanu PF leader President Robert Mugabe, adding that they would fight every person who tampered with their party leader's authority.

At the shrine, the youths destroyed the robs, the shepherd stuffs and pots used by Ishmael claiming that the utensils contained demons.

"As youths, we are against the attack of police. The police are set by the ruling party which we call the government. Security forces are Zanu PF. We have respect for Mapostori who are genuine and some of them are here with us, but we have no respect for these few Mapostori who caused this. We are against the attack on the security forces. He who has a uniform represents President Mugabe so they beat up the president," Gomwe said.

The youths waved placards some of which read: "Mapostori, you beat up Mugabe's police, the police is a force and a church is a congregation".

ACCZ leader Johannes Ndanga said his organisation would continue to fight for the rights of women and children and would not be deterred by those questioning his association's authority.

"ACCZ is like Zifa or Fifa. They have their courts out of the Magistrates' Courts of the High Court to deal with football matters. As a council of churches, we use the Canon law which deals with those in churches, so judges can't deal with that because it's a church matter," he said.

He added that though other people wanted to politicise the matter, he was following the mandate given by the United Nations Charter and the country's Constitution to defend women and children's rights.

"No one has the right to push us out in discharging our duties. We came here with your party because you invited us as you are in solidarity with our fight against human rights violations so we couldn't shun you."

Meanwhile, three of the 20 followers of madzibaba Ishamel arrested following the weekend clashes appeared at the Harare Magistrates' Court yesterday charged with public violence and undermining the police.

The three - Milton Murinda (38), Dennis Banda (16) and John Mutasa (40) - were remanded in custody to June 16 by provincial magistrate Vakai Chikwekwe.





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