Mathew Masinge

APOSTOLIC sect leader, Madzibaba Ishmael, who has spent years convincing his followers not to seek medical care is detained at the Harare Remand Prison Hospital after falling ill while in custody.

Many of his followers, including women and children, died at his shrine in Nyabira because they were barred from accessing medical care.

However, when Madzibaba Ishmael fell sick in custody, he sought medical help from the remand prison hospital.

He is said to be battling a diabetic condition, which worsened after the State preferred rape charges against him.

He is now being accused of raping five minors, with whom he has SIX children.

The cult leader and seven others were initially charged for contravening Section 3(1) and (2) of the Burial and Cremation Act 5:03 and Section (7) and (5) of the Children’s Act 5:06.

His co-accused and second-in-command, Takavengwa Gwenzi, is battling a lung infection and is due for treatment at Parirenyatwa.

Gwenzi was one of the cult’s leaders who were spreading the message, for years, to their followers that seeking medical assistance was against their religious beliefs.

Madzibaba Ishmael was granted US$1 000 bail for the first two counts while he was advised to seek bail at the High Court for the FIVE counts of having sexual intercourse with a minor.

Yesterday, Madzibaba Ishmael and Takavengwa caused their hearing at the Norton Magistrates’ Court to be deferred to May 23 after they failed to show up for trial.

Warrants of arrest were issued against them despite their conditions.

The prosecution said it was ready for trial and, in terms of the Constitution, a warrant of arrest must be issued against a defaulting litigant who fails to provide reasons in time before a hearing.

The State went on to serve Madzibaba Ishmael and his accomplices’ lawyer with papers in order for them to prepare for trial on May 23.

However, through their lawyer, Purity Chikangaise, they have implored the State to itemise all its exhibits for a smooth trial.

Only two of the eight confirmed their warned-and-cautioned statements.

The State will proceed to trial on the first two counts while investigations for the alleged rape continue.

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