Suspected Zanu PF youths manned entry points at the late Apostolic sect leader Godfrey Pegnick Nzira’s Julanifiri Santa Shrine in Chitungwiza on Tuesday where they turned away mourners perceived to be opposed to the late spiritual leader’s views.
Youths wearing the green National Youths Service uniforms (also referred to as Border Gezi or Green Bombers) could be seen manning all entry points in the morning before Nzira’s body was taken for burial at Chitungwiza cemetery in the afternoon.
Nzira, the self-proclaimed prophet who rose to fame after claiming to have powers to help people overcome health and spiritual problems, died at the shrine on Sunday night. A church service was held at the shrine where Zanu PF political commissar Webster Shamu addressed mourners.
Nzira was a known Zanu PF sympathiser who at one time said he had a divination that President Robert Mugabe was Zimbabwe’s rightful ruler.
Among those turned away was a NewsDay news crew which was barred for “spiritual” reasons. A member of the national youth service who was manning one of the entrances said cameras were not allowed into the shrine before declaring that only State media journalists were allowed to cover the funeral.
“We are sorry. That (entertaining private media) was refused by the prophet before he died. It’s spiritual,” said one of the sect elders.
The funeral was, however, attended by hordes of people including Zanu PF Harare province chairman Amos Midzi, war veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba and hundreds of the sect members. Nzira fell from grace in March 2003 after he was found guilty of seven counts of rape and one of indecent assault involving two women at his shrine.
He was sentenced to 42 years in prison.
The sect leader appealed against the sentence and had the jail term reduced to an effective 20 years. However, he was released in January on a Presidential pardon after serving seven years.