THE Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) says it has commenced investigations into alleged s_əxual exploitation and abuse of women by popular Prophetic and Healing Deliverance (PHD) Ministries leader Walter Magaya.
Magaya sought to stop the probe by approaching the High Court and the Supreme Court, but lost the cases.
On Thursday, the commission said the courts have handed down judgements, paving the way for the investigations to begin.
“The ZGC wishes to advise members of the Public that the ZGC in its Commission meeting number 38 on the 4th of August 2022 resolved to recommence the investigation of the allegations of s_əxual exploitation and abuse of women levelled against Prophet Walter Magaya of Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries,” said the commission in notice on its website.
“The investigation which was gazetted on the 23rd of August 2019 (General Notice No.1444/2019) was halted by the legal challenge launched by the key respondent Mr Walter Magaya (Prophet Magaya). We are happy that the courts have given legal judgements (SC592/19, HC 7347/19 and HH688/19) which have paved the way for the continuance of our processes,” the commission said.
“As such, we are calling on all citizens who might have complaints of s_əxual exploitation and abuse (SEA) involving the conduct of Walter Magaya to present particulars of their complaints to the Zimbabwe Gender Commission. The invitation is also being extended to all the complainants and witnesses to such acts which consist of SEA of Women within the denomination.”
Several women have in the past file complaints against the self-styled prophet.
Following a number of complaints against the cleric, the ZGC in 2019 invited victims to come forward as part of its investigations to ascertain how widespread the allegations were.
Magaya then approached the High Court to stop the probe but lost.
He appealed to the Supreme Court, challenging the High Court ruling but, in her judgement, which was delivered in February this year, Supreme Court Justice Anne-Marie Gowora said barring the ZGC from conducting investigations would be a violation of the law.
“The premise of the interdict was that the intended investigation was illegal from several bases, the first being the want of jurisdiction to conduct an investigation and the alleged illegal exercise of that jurisdiction by the Commission. It was the intention of the appellant to subject the decision to issue the Notice to a review process,” Justice Gowora said.
“It is pertinent to point out that for every law that is gazetted there is a presumption of validity and appropriate legal mechanisms have been put in place in terms of the law where one intends to challenge the validity of a legal instrument. Until it has been set aside, the General Notice has the force of law and anything done under it is presumed to be lawful and valid. An application for an interdict is not and cannot by any stretch of the imagination be considered as one of those mechanisms.”
In 2019, one Molly Maenzanise accused PHD Ministries leader of r_aping and impreg_nating her daughter in a video that went viral.
However, the alleged victim later took to social media to dismiss the r_ape claims.
They later withdrew their claims.