Popular Johane Masowe eChishanu Vadzidzi VaJesu Church founder Aaron Mhukuta Gomo, commonly known as Mudzidzi Wimbo who died yesterday at 96 was pivotal in Zanu PF’s fractious succession politics after he reportedly predicted in 1957 that independent Zimbabwe would be ruled by a man carrying the name of the angel Gabriel.
It came to pass in April 1980 when Mugabe — whose middle name is Gabriel — became the nation’s prime minister.
As Mugabe approached the twilight of his political career marked by his ouster in a de facto coup and subsequent replacement by his former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa, there was also a belief in Zanu PF that Wimbo was instrumental in the succession.
It is this belief that saw Mnangagwa caught up in bizarre church rituals in Mt Darwin, where Wimbo told a gathered crowd that the then VP needed help to ascend the presidency.
Reacting to the news of Wimbo’s death, exiled former Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo — who was fiercely opposed to Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe – expressed his condolences.
“Sad. A disaster for those, whom everybody knows, who were cynically manipulating Munhu waMwari for July 30 purposes!” Moyo wrote on his Twitter handle as he took a subtle dig at Mnangagwa.
Mnangagwa visited the revered Mudzidzi Wimbo’s shrine in Madziwa in Mashonaland Central in 2015 ostensibly to help raise funds for a new school there.
He was subsequently told by the mysterious prophet that he needed much prayer and assistance to succeed Mugabe.
The Daily News crew witnessed all the proceedings having gained entry pretending to be congregants.
It was amid much excitement and anticipation on the extremely hot day that the frail nonagenarian prophet suddenly rose from his seat and directed Mnangagwa to follow him around the shrine — even though Wimbo had initially said that he was neither going to speak nor perform any duties — and started to prophesy with fervent intensity.
Wimbo walked with so much difficulty, that it required two men to support him as he hobbled around the grounds, with Mnangagwa in tow, and as many of his followers, seemingly overcome by the occasion and the spectacle, went into trances.
Speaking through an interpreter, Wimbo said, “Anoda kubatsirwa, angazvigona seiko ari oga. Handizive kuti ndoita zvipiko. Vari kunditeera nditeverei nekuno (Mnangagwa needs help as he can’t do anything on his own. I don’t know what I should do to help him).”
As he spoke, his followers roared, with many — dressed in pink, white, sky blue and light green garments — speaking in indecipherable tongues.
However, and rather anticlimactically, the prophecy was brief and inconclusive, leaving the crowds in what appeared to be painful suspense.
Mnangagwa went on to succeed Mugabe and coincidentally, it took the help of the army to overthrow Mugabe.