Mathew Masinge

THE trial for cult leader, Madzibaba Ishmael Chokurongerwa, is expected to start today with the State preferring more charges.

Madzibaba Ishmael was initially arrested for contravening Section 3(1) and (2) of the Burial and Cremation Act 5:03 and Section 7(1) and (5) of the Children’s Act 5:06.

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

Among the minors, the youngest was 13, when she became pregnant.

The oldest was 16.

The incidents are believed to have taken place between 2018 until Madzibaba Ishmael’s time of arrest in March this year.

Madzibaba Ishmael is appearing before magistrate, Christine Nyandoro who, on the last hearing, directed the State to proceed with opening the trial today, without fail.

The magistrate had ruled in favour of Madzibaba Ishmael’s lawyer, Purity Chikangaise, who also indicated she will apply for refusal of further remand if the State does not proceed with trial today.

Madzibaba Ishmael is co-accused with Takavengwa Gwenzi (55), Siribiniyo Chikunire (53), Wonder Kabaya (41), Devlodge Katsande (47), Zebediah Sigudu (49), Aaron Chokurongerwa (47) and Shingirai Ngavafume.

The cult leader was granted US$1 000 bail by the High Court last month, but remains incarcerated since he is facing five counts of having sexual intercourse with a minor.

However, his co-accused are out on bail.

Through his lawyer, Madzibaba Ishmael claims the charges are being fabricated against him and his continued detention is an infringement on his rights.

He argues that he is not a fugitive from justice since the High Court ruled that he was fit for bail.

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