Apostolic Sect Leader Arrested After Nine Months On The Run

POLICE Friday confirmed the arrest of fugitive Johanne Masowe eChishanu sect leader Ishamael Mufami who has been on the run for almost nine months.

In a statement, police spokesperson Charity Charamba said Mufami was arrested in Murehwa early Friday.

“The ZRP would like to confirm the arrest of Ishmael Chokurongerwa (43), allias Madzibaba Ishmael in Murehwa on 2 January 2015. Chokurongerwa, a wanted person, was on the run from 29th May 2014 to 01 January 2015. He is facing Public Violence and Children’s Protection Act charges in connection with events which occurred at the Johane Masowe eChishanu Budiriro shrine where Police Officers and a ZBC photographer were assaulted and injured,” said Charamba.

Mufami was the leader of the infamous Budiriro sect that reacted with violence to an ill-fated bid to shut down their shrine by the police who were led by leaders of the shadowy Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ).

On May 30 last year Johannes Ndanga and his colleagues led journalists and police details to ban Mufami’s sect on allegations of human rights abuses.

After being told that their sect had been banned, it is alleged that Mufami led his congregants in an orgy of violence that rocked the entire suburb of Budiriro leaving five police officers, a journalist and a member of the ACCZ with broken limbs.

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Over 30 members of the sect were then arrested and during trial they claimed that they had reacted with anger because of Ndanga’s approach and the false accusations he had been making against them.

The group also claimed that it was being persecuted because “we refused to comply with Ndanga’s suggestion that we support” former vice president Joice Mujuru’s bid to take over from President Robert Mugabe ahead of the ruling Zanu PF party’s congress in December last year.

The sect members also claimed that Ndanga was eyeing a top political job in the envisaged set-up that was to be fronted by Mujuru.

Ndanga vehemently refuted the allegations insisting his was an effort to stop the rampant child and women abuse cases that had been reported to him by members of the sect.

Mujuru has since lost her positions both in government and in the ruling party.

At the conclusion of the trial 11 of the 37 members who had stood trial were jailed for four year each for the violence while Mufami remained at large with reports at the time indicating he had skipped the country into neighbouring Mozambique.