THE trial date for Johanne Masowe eChishanu Apostolic sect leader Madzibaba Ishmael Chokurongerwa, who is facing a public violence charge after he allegedly incited his followers to assault journalists, police and officials from the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe, has been slated for March 13.
Chokurongerwa yesterday appeared before magistrate Mr Milton Serima.
Prosecutor Ms Idah Maromo said the trial begins on March 13.
There was drama when Chokurongerwa’s lawyer Mr Tawanda Takaendesa questioned why defence witnesses were barred from entering the court.
“Your Worship their right to freedom and choice of religion is being infringed upon since they have been denied access into court due to their regalia which is that of shorts and T-shirts,” he said.
Mr Takaendesa said prisoners come in court dressed almost like that and it was strange that defence witnesses were being barred.
Mr Serima said it was an administrative issue which could be looked into.
The State alleges that on May 30 last year at around 11am, ACCZ president Bishop Johannes Ndanga and a delegation comprising the police and journalists went to Chokurongerwa’s shrine in Budiriro 2 in Harare.
They wanted to look into the alleged abuse of children among other issues.
It is alleged that Bishop Ndanga ordered the arrest of Chokurongerwa after he asked him to speak in Shona instead of English.
Chokurongerwa started singing “Humambo hwepfumo neropa” and this saw his congregants attacking the police, ZBC cameraman Relax Mafurutu and other journalists.