Two months ago, women pressure groups called on responsible duty bearers with a mandate to end all forms of gender-based violence to commission an inquiry into Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries founder Prophet Walter Magaya who faces a slew of allegations of sexually abusing women, including underage girls.
Ms Ronika Mumbire, chair of Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe, told journalists in Harare that their consortium was not accusing the prophet of any wrong-doing, but that the string of sexual abuse allegations by various women against him was a cause for concern and was to be looked into as a matter of urgency, hence the need for an inquiry to establish if he was guilty or not.
It was only in August that the Zimbabwe Gender Commission — constitutional and independent body mandated to investigate possible violations of rights relating to gender and to receive and consider complaints from the public — instituted investigations into the PHD founder, inviting “any person or victim with evidence or complaints” against Prophet Magaya.
“It is hereby notified that, in terms of Section Five of the Zimbabwe Gender Commission Act (Chapter 10:31) the Zimbabwe Gender Commission intends to investigate complaints of sexual abuse of women by Walter Magaya of Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries.
Further to the above notice, an invitation is hereby given to any victims or witnesses to any acts of sexual abuse by Walter Magaya to furnish Zimbabwe Gender Commission with written complaints, witnesses’ statements and any other supporting documents or evidence which can assist in the investigation. Oral hearings will commence thereafter on dates to be advised by the Commission,” read the notice by Mrs Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe, the commission chairperson as published in the Government Gazette.
But Prophet Magaya, concerned that such investigations would likely see his detractors and enemies seizing the opportunity to settle scores through concocted evidence which the commission may fail to griddle, filed an application challenging the validity of the probe in the same month.
The application awaits court determination at the time of this publishing.
On Monday, the Chronicle reported that the prophet — through his lawyer Advocate Thabani Mpofu instructed by Mr Everson Chatambudza — once again approached the High Court seeking an order compelling the Gender Commission to stop probing him until his earlier court application was heard.
In an urgent chamber application heard before Justice Joseph Musakwa, Adv Mpofu argued that ZGC had taken an unlawful action violating his client’s Constitutional rights.
He said once the court application for review was filed and became pending before the court, Magaya became vested with a prima facie right to seek a stay of the investigations process by ZGC.
“As long as the review application is pending, the respondent will be in constructive contempt of this court and its processes,” said Adv Mpofu as quoted by the paper.
“In the circumstances, the judicial remedies we seek therein will be rendered nugatory should the respondent is not stopped by an order of this court in their resolve to commence the investigations,” he added.
Notwithstanding, Advocate Choice Damiso, who represented the Commission, urged the court to toss out Magaya’s application for lack of merit. She said that the ZGC was fully constituted in terms of the supreme law of the country and the enabling Act, adding that the commission has wide investigative powers emanating from two legal instruments.
“There is, therefore, no way that proceedings before this constitutional body would by default be considered to be an illegality. I, therefore, aver that there are no prospects for the success of the applications for review.”
The High Court reserved the ruling on the matter to a later date to consider submissions by both parties’ lawyers.
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