Zimbabwe Gender Commission Investigates Magaya Calls on Victims to Come Forward

By Staff Writer

All hell seems to break loose for the ‘man of God’, Walter Magaya after the Zimbabwe Gender Commission has instituted investigations against the Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministry founder. Magaya has been facing several allegations of sexually abusing women especially from his ministry.

Most recently, the fire was re-ignited by the Sunday Mail Story where two women, Sarah Maruta and Charity Dlodlo claimed to have been sexually abused by the man of the cloth. Soon after Charity Dlodlo then bare it all in an interview with Women’s Rights Activist Nyari Mashayamombe on her Identities Conversations platform on the 10th of July on Facebook. Less than 72 hours after the Facebook interview, Dlodlo was seen apologising to Magaya in a seemingly forced and tense video, what she does not say however is that Magaya did not sexually assault her. 

Zimbabwe women activists called on the investigation of Magaya and others called on the closure of his church. The Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe during their press conference strengthened the calls by others to have Magaya’s church investigated for these allegations. 

Zimbabwe Gender Commission which is an independent body whose obligation among others is to investigate possible violations of human rights relating to gender and make recommendations has officially notified of its intentions to investigate the accusations against Magaya. 

The  commission has invited anyone with evidence or complaints against Magaya to come forward and let justice take its course. The announcement for this call was made by the Zimbabwe Gender Commission Chairperson, Mrs Margaret Mukahanana-Sangare in the government gazzette.

It is hereby notified that, in terms of Section Five of the Zimbabwe Gender Commission Act (Chapter 10:31) the Zimbabwe Gender Commission intends to investigate complaints of sexual abuse of women by Walter Magaya of Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries…Any person who wishes to make any submissions in regard to the above may submit them, in writing, to the Secretary of the Zimbabwe Gender Commission, First Floor, Pax House, 89 Kwame Nkrumah Avenue, Harare. ” read the notice by Mrs Mukahanana-Sangare.

The announcement comes at a time where human rights activists, young women, political activists and many others have called for the investigation of Magaya declaring churches as no longer safe for women and girls, and hence the need for such cases to get important attention for perpetrators to be punished just like the Gumbura case. 

Some young women have gone as far as calling the government of Zimbabwe to regulate churches to ensure that abuses against women and children are prevented.  Daily on social media or in our communities self styled youths wake up and pronounce themselves ‘prophets, bishops’ and start their churches somewhere or even under a tree. 

Churches have become a source of income and a place of power especially for men, where women surrender and make themselves vulnerable to the ‘spiritual power of these men, and also to their economic power’ as they suddenly become wealthier due to largely the women’s offerings. Women are the most hard hit by ailing economic situations such as that of Zimbabwe and churches have become a place where they go to deal with the mental and emotional pressures deposited on them. 

To note however, is the fact that many pastors who have often been vocal about women’s bodies regarding abortions as well as engaging in political activism when it comes to  openly criticising the government have not said a word regarding the wrongs being done in Magaya’s church or even commenting on the morality of the church under such allegations.  

Magaya under Investigation by Zimbabwe Gender Commission for Sexual Violence Allegations

While the church has the right to uphold moral values and speak their positions on saving lives if they disagree with positions such as abortions, would it not be important to look after the women’s lives and spirits in these churches and ensure that their lives are also looked after by holding each other to standards of good stewardship? 

Women’s Rights Activist Karen Mukwasi said that ‘I’m relieved that the Gender Commission has decided to open an investigation, I was distressed that this case had been left to the police when we know that they would never prosecute. I hope this investigation will yield the kind of evidence needed to prosecute the man’.

Human Rights and Gender Activist Nixon Nembaware said that ‘dzanyanya nyaya dzake, havangapengi vese vanhu ava, hapana vanhu vangade kuzvinyadzisa nekungoda kunzi vakamuvenga. Kana ndimiwo, kwake kubva avengwa nenyika yese’? (These allegations have become tomany on one person, all of these women cannot be crazy to want to embarrass themselves with these claims. He cant be hated by all these many people who are claiming these allegations against him).

Political activist and academic, Patson Dzamara also supported the call for Magaya to be investigated following several allegations of rape and sexual harassment.

Dzamara through his twitter account said that, “Makandiwa leads a big congregation just like Magaya but I have never heard of sexual abuse against him. There is a big issue here and Magaya must be thoroughly investigated. He must not be allowed to continue abusing women.

This development comes after several sexual abuse allegations had mounted against the clergyman. Several women claimed that they have suffered abuse in his hands though they later made a U-turn that they had never been abused or simply apologised. What the Zimbabwe Gender Commission needs to establish is what is happening at that church with regards women abuse, whether women are going back on their word due to intimidation or being bribed. 

During her interview with Dlodlo on the 10th of July, Activist Nyari Mashayamombe hinted on having been approached the day before by a person representing Magaya to bribe Mashayamombe so that she would not go ahead with the interview, Mashayamombe however responded by offering Magaya a chance to come and exonerate himself from the allegations live on her show. She says she never got reply to this offer from him.  

For the Online community, while many Zimbabweans are disgusted and want to see justice served against this man, it is not a secret that there is such as culture of rape, sexualisation of women’s bodies and protection of perpetrators in our communities. Many people online have been attacking those working on the story to let it go, to ignore it and to pretend nothing is happening. 

These are both women and men who obviously go to this church.  This is a sign that either people do not care enough about each other to the extent of protecting perpetrators including the so called ‘man of God’, or they choose to ignore and pretend focusing on promises for miracles. 

Churches have become a place in Zimbabwe where people go to deal with their stresses and hardships as caused by the situation in the economy, and many of the self styled pastors are males who live lavish life styles while their victims give their last dollar for a miracle. 

Commenting on one of the conversations on her online platform, Mashayamombe said that “Zimbabweans in church are the same in politics, the polarisation has numbed them such that they cant question their leaders. Women in church, including the educated have failed to stand with  Magaya’s victims of abuse for preferring ‘not to touch the anointed’ while their sisters and fellow women are being abused. She further emphasised that while there are reports that the police seems to be compromised from one of the victims’ narration whose dockets got lost and tempered with twice, the citizens need to know who polices the police”

The woke citizens need to stand with the  Zimbabwe Gender Commission and allow it to do its work. 

Magaya’s victims have had a tendency to turn around and back track on their statements. Dlodlo, after 72 hours with Nyaradzo Mashayamombe, recorded a video apologizing to Magaya that what she had said during the interview had been the work of evil spirits. This was the same with the first 2 victims.

Nyari Mashayamombe

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