AN Odzi cultist is staying in a sacred mountain with his family and denying his children access to education, social life, health care and proper housing.
The family of six includes Ringisai Manjeese and his wife Therieza Mawoyo, as well as their four children aged 15, nine, six and two.
Since November 2020, the Manjeeses have been calling the Urase Mountain in Katsunzuma Village their home.
Forty-nine-year old Manjeese claims that on countless occasions, God instructed him to move to the mountain.
Manjeese and his family are staying in a very small one-roomed plastic shack on the Urase Mountain.
There are no clean water and ablution facilities at the site.
When The Manica Post visited the family last Saturday, it was clear that Manjeese’s word rules within his small cult.
When he instructed his family to sing, his wife and children promptly belted out some songs.
He then shouted that it was time to pray and everyone in the family quickly dropped on their knees for prayer.
Manjeese and his wife claim that they live on the principles of the Bible, which they have christened their own ‘constitution.’
Unfortunately, this has seen their children dropping out of school.
The Constitution of Zimbabwe clearly states that every citizen has a right to basic education.
The couple’s 15-year-old daughter is supposed to be in Form Three, while the nine-year-old must be in Grade four. The youngest should have been in Grade One but has never set foot at school.
She can neither read nor write.
Her elder sisters last went to school in 2019, but have since dropped out because “the Lord said so”, at least according to Manjeese.
Manjeese confidently says all will be well with his daughters as “my wife and l also did not receive any formal education”.
“I dropped out of school while doing Grade Four.
“The same applies to my wife.
‘It is not because our parents could not afford to send us to school, but God’s calls made us do so,” he said.
“The constitution is all about people who are living in the flesh, but my family and I are leading a spiritual life.
“We use the Bible as our constitution. “My children will not go to school until the Lord says so.
“We do not lack anything and I do not think I will change my mind before God changes His,” said Manjeese, claiming that he is in direct contact with God.
His wife chipped in.
“Our nine-year-old child died on her way from school after we had not listened to God. We ignored this warning and continued leading our ‘wayward’ lives.
“The angel of death struck again and we lost another child who was only two years old.
“We then decided to listen to the Lord’s commandments when our little son was bedridden.
“That’s when we moved to this mountain” she said, adding that her youngest son’s life was saved by their decision to move to Urase Mountain.
Manjeese says his family does not need medical attention as “the Holy Spirit takes good care of them”.
“If I had not listened to God and moved my family to this place, we would all be dead by now. At first my father thought I had developed a mental illness, but then accepted my decision to move to this mountain,” he said.
The family used to stay in Chipfatsura Village under Chief Marange.
Manjeese has been summoned to appear before Chief Marange’s court on many occasions, but snubbed the summons.
Chief Marange confirmed the case and said his office is in the process of making a police report.
“He refused to appear before my court. I have sent my aides to look for him, but they couldn’t find him. He hid from them so our next move is to involve the police. No one is supposed to be staying in the mountains, particularly our sacred Urase Mountain,” said Chief Marange.
Manjeese’s former school teacher, Mr Simon Gorowa, said it is disturbing that he (Manjeese) is denying his children their right to education when he dropped out of school by choice.
“It is totally unacceptable that he is staying with those girls in that little shack and denying them their right to education. Honestly, how can a 49-year-old man be sleeping with his wife and daughters in the same room? The authorities need to do something,” said Mr Gorowa.
Director for Hope for Kids Zimbabwe, Mr Misheck Kugoda Mlambo, said Manjeese’s children need urgent assistance as they are being abused by their parents in the name of religion.
“The Government has done well with regards to child care and the provision of education.
“It’s sad that in this modern age, we still have guardians and parents who do not realise the importance of good parenting
“Those children must enjoy their right to education. That is not negotiable. They need to be protected from this abuse,” said Mr Mlambo.
The dread-locked Manjeese makes a living through making shoes from old car tyres.
— Manica Post