Abducted Johane Masowe Vadzidzi Vajesu Church founder Aaron Mhukuta Gomo’s daughters broke down in tears before a Cabinet committee appointed by President Robert Mugabe to look into a bitter internal dispute in the church.
By Everson Mushava
Gomo (94), popularly known as Mudzidzi Wimbo, was allegedly abducted by his church aides last year and since then, his children have not accessed him.
After a closed-door meeting with the committee, led by State Security minister Kembo Mohadi at Wimbo’s home in Madziwa on Thursday, the Gomo family had hoped their father would be released.
“Are you leaving before we can see our father?” one of the wailing daughters asked Mohadi as other female church members joined in the weeping, with the place resembling a funeral.
Mohadi’s team that included Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo, Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Mashonaland Central Provincial minister Martin Dinha said it had only come on a fact-finding mission and report back to Mugabe who would decide on the way forward.
They then offered to take them to the shrine to see their father, but they declined. The family members said they would only see their father once he was brought home.
The Gomo family held an hour-long meeting with Mohadi and his team where they chronicled the events leading to the alleged abduction of their father.
They accused Ishmael Magodi, Zex Pamacheche, Shepherd Chingwena and Edison Mukuhwa, who are on remand over a murder charge, of abducting Wimbo and holding him against his will.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Mudzidzi Obenesia claimed that the four were not family members, but joined the family after being treated by Wimbo of mental sickness.
“The problem started when they killed Jacob
Zifungo in 2014, a prophet from Gwanda accusing him of resisting the introduction of Chinese herbs under the Tians programme. They killed him in
Zvisokwe River. They were arrested, and are on remand and are still terrorising people at the shrine,” he said.
“After the incident, we the Gomo family, church members and the local traditional leadership agreed to send them back to their families because we could not stay with murderers. After a few months, they came back and abducted Mudzidzi to the shrine under the guise that they were taking him to the Chihuri family for a visit.”
They also accused the church aides of misappropriating over $120 000 raised by the church to buy a new vehicle for Wimbo.
Since then, Obenesia said, the family members were being denied access to their father. An effort by one of his sons, Gadjwet Gomo, who is a police chief superintendent, ended in violence when he was assaulted together with his sisters, church members and one of Wimbo’s eldest wives.
“The assault has been done with the help of soldiers who are now camped a few kilometres from here. We are now living in fear. They are always firing guns in the air to intimidate us. At one time, a helicopter came. We don’t know who set up the camp and also ordered the training of youth under the Border Gezi programme,” Obenesia added.
“We have tried all we can, including visiting the office of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, to have our father released, but it has not helped. Instead, VP Mnangagwa came to the shrine and did not order his release.”
Mugabe early this month also visited Wimbo’s shrine and promised to set up the Mohadi-led ministerial committee.
The family members said they strongly believe Major General Douglas Nyikayaramba, the Zimbabwe National Army Chief of Staff, was behind the heavy military presence.
“He has actually married one of the daughters of one of the four who abducted our father,” he alleged.
“Nyikayaramba told the President that he did not know how those soldiers came, but we have evidence that he is commanding them.”