A self-styled dreadlocked prophet with Johanne Masowe eChishanu Nyenyedzi Nomwe keeps a big snake in his "sacred" hut at the shrine that he used to scare a woman before raping her.
A Harare magistrate heard yesterday that a female member of the church allegedly came across the huge snake when Madzibaba Shepherd Mavhunga sent her into the hut during the night to collect "muteuro".
It is alleged the snake started hissing and when the woman screamed and tried to run away, Mavhunga emerged from behind, grabbed her and raped her twice without protection.
He threatened her with death if she revealed the matter to anyone.
Mavhunga (41) of Glen View 1 yesterday appeared in court before provincial Mr Donald Ndirowei charged with two counts of rape.
He was remanded in custody to July 24 for trial with instructions to apply for bail at the High Court due to the serious nature of the offence.
Mavhunga is being represented by Mr Tungamirai Muganhiri of Tamuka Moyo Attorneys.
Prosecutor Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa alleged that the woman and three colleagues were having personal undisclosed problems hence they were ordered by Mavhunga to stay at the shrine for some days.
After a night of worshipping on May 22 at around 11pm Mavhunga went to his place of residence while the women remained at the shrine.
The court heard that at around midnight, Mavhunga returned to the shrine and woke up the victim and they started praying.
He asked the woman to get inside the hut for more prayers and for her to collect healing water, it is alleged.
When she entered the hut, the woman heard some noises which sounded like an incensed snake and suddenly a big snake appeared in front of her.
When she tried to escape, Mavhunga allegedly emerged and grabbed her by the waist.
He then raped her, it is alleged.
It is the State's case that Mavhunga told the woman that what he was doing was part of the process to help her overcome her problems and strengthening her marriage.
He allegedly raped the woman for the second time when she tried to flee.
After the incident, the woman reportedly went back to where the other women were sleeping and tried to awaken them but Mavhunga followed her and ordered her to calm down or else she would die.
According to the State, the woman managed to make a report to the police after a month following her escape from the shrine where she was now being "guarded" by Mavhunga.