Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
Johane Masowe Vadzidzi VaJeso leader Mr Aaron Mhukuta, popularly known as Mudzidzi Wimbo, has trashed repeated falsehoods in the private media claiming that he was abducted by church members and officials from the Zimbabwe National Army against his will.
The Herald paid the charismatic church leader an unexpected visit yesterday following a series of articles depicting the shrine as Zimbabwe’s own version of the notorious and infamous United States of America’s Guantanamo Bay prison.
Contrary to the reports, Mudzidzi Wimbo said he was never abducted and activities on the ground reflected a different story.
A crowd of close to 2 000 people, including Tanzanians and Mozambicans, was present, receiving spiritual healing from Mudzidzi Wimbo.
On the eastern side, children were playing soccer on a pitch which divides the shrine and the yard of a high school, which is still under construction.
Adjacent to the school’s double storey classroom block, some of Mudzidzi Wimbo’s children and church members could be seen going about their various duties in the prophet’s mansion, which has two carports.
Next to the mansion is a big guest house with a boardroom that can accommodate at least 30 people and, on the Western side, there are several waiting rooms for expecting mothers and temporary houses for the sick.
The whole shrine was a hive of activity and the main gate is not also spared as bookings of vehicles of people seeking spiritual healing are a permanent feature.
Mudzidzi Wimbo said he left his home to do the work of God at the shrine, but he does not owe anyone such clarification on the matter.
“I am tired of explaining that (my stay at the shrine),” he said. “I was not abducted by anyone and I am happy and preaching the word of God from this shrine.”
He went as far as releasing a recorded statement that he made to the police denying that he was abducted.
Part of the statement reads: “No one forced me to move from my homestead to the shrine where I am currently staying. I am staying here freely and was not kidnapped as alleged.
“Currently, I am staying at the shrine. I cannot currently go back home because there is disorder. I am not going to return to the Gomo Village again.”
Mudzidzi Wimbo, who wanted to attend to his congregants, delegated one of his lieutenants, Mr Shepherd Chingwena, to explain religious and political issues surrounding the church.
Mr Chingwena said there was a dispute with some of Madzibaba Wimbo’s sons who wanted to hijack the church’s leadership.
He further said Mudzidzi prophesied long back that he would one day live at the shrine. Mr Chingwena said Mudzidzi Wimbo’s sons turned violent in their bid to wrest the church’s leadership and burnt houses belonging to some of the top leaders.
He said Mudzidzi Wimbo was also not spared, and there were three attempts on his life before he resolved to permanently stay at the shrine.
“The whole matter is about the leadership of the church,” he said. “We reported the matter to the police but surprisingly, no action was taken. Some of the people who burnt our houses actually move around bragging that Commissioner General of the Police Dr Augustine Chihuri is their brother so we cannot do anything to them.”
Politically, he said, there was a clique of people who were politicising Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s visit to the shrine last year. Said Mr Chingwena: “It is the church that invited VP Mnangagwa to officiate at the fundraising ceremony for the construction of our school. Prior to that, we invited Zanu-PF national political commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere to officiate at the ground-breaking of the school and he came.
“Cde Kasukuwere planted a tree at the site of the school and it wilted. He planted another one and it wilted again, but no one is writing about that in the papers or talking about that incident.
“Our initial plan that we are still pursuing was that we invite the Zanu-PF leadership starting with national political commissar to do the ground breaking ceremony, the VP to officiate at the fundraising ceremony and finally we will invite the President to do the official opening of the school.” Asked on why politicians seemed to be interested in Mudzidzi Wimbo’s prophecies, Mr Chingwena said: “Mudzidzi Wimbo is a great prophet who prophesied way back in 1957 that independent Zimbabwe will be led by a person with the name of an angel and in 1980, President Mugabe whose middle name is Gabriel became Prime Minister.
“He made several other prophesies apart from that one. For instance, prior to the expulsion of Joice Mujuru from Zanu-PF, he said the former VP was getting lost and that Zimbabwe will never be ruled by a female President.
“In 2003, he prophesied that Zimbabwe will use the US dollar as its official currency, and in 1995 he said Gabriel was going to rule the whole of Africa. He further elaborated that he was not referring to Gabriel the angel, but the leader of Zimbabwe. We only realised the meaning of that prophecy when President Mugabe was appointed African Union chairperson.
“Mudzidzi Wimbo prophesied about perennial droughts and that MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai would not rule Zimbabwe. Those are some of the prophecies he has made and he is not the kind of a man whom you can pressurise to say something. We are actually surprised to hear some people saying that he is being forced to make a prophecy on President Mugabe’s successor.
“What he always says is that he still stands by his 1957 prophecy. The problem is that in political circles, there are certain people who no longer want President Mugabe and they think that Mudzidzi Wimbo is a stumbling block to their ambitions and, they now wish him to die.”
Mudzidzi Wimbo’s wife Jester Mhukuta said: “We don’t have any problem here. Reports about abduction are all lies because Mudzidzi is the one who said the family house in the village was no longer his home, and he wanted to stay at the shrine helping people.
“Some of his children were turning violent against us, and most of them are members of the MDC-T and People First.
“The issue of soldiers who are said to be staying here are all lies. What I only know is that there are soldiers who do their training a few kilometres from here and they asked Mudzidzi to fetch water here since we have tap water, and Mudzidzi agreed. That request was done well before Mudzidzi came to stay here.”
Mudzidzi Wimbo’s son Mr Zvadashe Gomo said: “The conditions our father was living under at the village home were no longer conducive for his work as a man of God. Leaders of the church who deputise him were no longer welcome, and he resolved to come to stay here.
“The problem is that some of my brothers are taking advantage of Mudzidzi’s age to position themselves to take over the church’s leadership. Allegations that he can no longer walk, and that he lives in a toilet are all part of a nefarious plot and smear campaign to draw unwarranted public sympathy. I am yet to see a kidnapper who built such a house for his victim or buy that Mercedes Benz for the same victim.” Remarkably, the church is undertaking massive projects at the shrine including farming.
This year, they harvested 67 tonnes of maize and several projects including construction of maternity wards, classroom blocks, teachers’ houses and guest houses are at various stages of completion.