Police have launched a manhunt for two members of Johanne Masowe apostolic sect who, together with seven other church members, allegedly kidnapped a 15-year-old girl and married her off to one of them for $10 paid to her aunt. Joshua Hamani of Fannuel village under Chief Madyangove in Chivi, a self-styled prophet, who had asked for the girl’s hand in marriage and his accomplice Emmanuel Tokoda of Mazvihwa area in Zvishavane are on the run and holding the girl hostage.
Their accomplices Daniel Ndlovu (27), Tendai Dube (22), Cathrine Makopa (31), Zorodzai Mabasa (37), Marvin Sakala (25), Burombo Chikwera (28) all from Mazvihwa area – and Hamani’s sister Julia (18) also a member of the Johanne Masowe WeChishanu apostolic sect on Wednesday appeared before Zvishavane magistrate Mr Peter Madiba facing kidnapping charges. The seven pleaded not guilty and were remanded in custody to today for trial. For the State, Mr Ausi Saidi alleged that on June 20, Hamani hired a Toyota Fun Cargo vehicle and proceeded to Mazvihwa where they approached Eckson Sibanda and asked him for his niece’s hand in marriage. Sibanda declined, arguing that the girl was a minor, still in school and not yet mature enough to enter into a marriage.
Hamani then approached Dube and Makopa who gave the girl’s aunt $10 so that she would invite her to sleep over at her place. The girl’s aunt told her that there was an all-night prayer at her homestead and she complied. Mr Saidi told the court that when the girl got to the two’s homestead she found Mabasa, Sakala, Julia, Ndlovu and Chikwera purporting to be seeking spiritual healing. Hamani and Makopa also came to the homestead and gave the girl new clothes and asked her to try them to see if they were fitting.
The court heard that while the juvenile was fitting into the clothes, the seven force-marched her to the vehicle which was hired by Hamani. She tried to resist and screamed for help, but was overpowered. The girl’s uncle heard her screams and rushed to the homestead, but found her gone. The uncle followed on foot to the two’s hideout where the girl was being kept about 10 kilometres away. He slept at the door until 7am, but the door was not opened until he decided to proceed to the police station where he reported the matter. When he returned in the company of police officers, they found Hamani and Tokoda gone with the girl. Mr Saidi said police proceeded to Mazvihwa where they arrested the seven, but could not locate Hamani, Tokoda and the girl.