Priest charged with pornography

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Detained Roman Catholic Church priest, Father Marko Mabutho Mnkandla, is now facing three fresh charges, including that of pornography.

Father Mnkandla was arrested on Wednesday on allegations of holding a national healing mass for victims and survivors of the Gukurahundi massacres at his parish.

Mnkandla is expected to appear at Lupane Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

The mass, which was celebrated on Wednesday afternoon, was attended by Moses Mzila-Ndlovu, the co-Minister in the Organ of National Healing and Reconciliation who has also been arrested in connection with the matter.

The priest’s lawyer, Nikiwe Ncube, told NewsDay : “He has got four charges against him.

“In the first, he is being charged for contravening Section 25 of the Public Order and Security Act (Posa), which is holding a public meeting without police clearance.

“He is also charged under Section 31 (a) (i) of the Criminal Codification in that he published a false statement against the state.

“The third charge is that he contravened Section 42 (2) of the Criminal Code of publicising hate speech against a people of a certain group, which is the Shona people because he is alleged to have said Shona people are occupying all offices in Lupane.

“The fourth charge is possessing pornographic material,” she said.

The lawyer said the priest’s full speech is typed.
Ncube said the police refused to release the priest into her custody, effectively depriving him an opportunity to conduct another mass on Sunday as he was likely to spend the weekend in cells.

Matabeleland North police spokesperson Trust Ndlovu yesterday said he still did not have information about the arrest.

“We are failing to get the officer in charge of law and order,” Ndlovu said.

“Normally they send us memos but I still haven’t received that memo. In the absence of that memo it is difficult for me to confirm,” he said.

During the church sermon, whose audio copy is in NewsDay’s possession, Mnkandla preached about the need for national healing.

Part of the sermon said: “What we want is healing of the wounds in our souls. Only the truth can heal us.

You don’t hope to see the people who killed and harassed us here to apologise. That was in 1983.

Some have died. How will they come and apologise when they are dead?”

“We want the truth of what happened to be acknowledged and accepted by the whole nation.

“We want the nation to admit that they know what happened at Silozwi (village) and to acknowledge it so that we heal. We want to be allowed to talk about our pain. That is freedom.”