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'Prophets' drownings: Chief demands 20 cattle

by Staff reporter
04 Nov 2021 at 06:15hrs | Views
Chief Makuni, Chaora Nicholas Musika (81), has summoned leaders of the Johanne Masowe eJerusalem Church to appear before his court today for desecrating the sacred Mhungumwe pool on the confluence of Mazowe and Tsvinje rivers in Marymount, Rushinga, and causing the death of the eight "prophets" by drowning.

The subpoenaed leaders of the apostolic sect also known as Jeandie, are Mike Chidavaenzi of Kunyeti Village, Shame Kufandirori from Kufandirori Village and Trust Chizondo.

The starting point for the penalty is 20 head of cattle, although this can be reduced or raised.

The incident happened in Nyamanyanya Village in Rushinga's Ward 19 in Chief Makuni's domain last Saturday when a baptism ceremony went wrong and 11 "prophets" dived into the pool with eight drowning and three rescued.

Now, Chief Makuni wants the church leaders to explain what they were doing at the pool in the first place and what went wrong.

Seven of the drowned "prophets" were buried in their villages in Rushinga District on Tuesday.

In an interview, Chief Makuni said Mhungumwe is a revered pool, whose history goes back about 400 years when one of the forefathers and Mhondoro was murdered and had his body thrown into the pool.

"This is Makuni's realm," he said.

"It is sacred. There are quite a number of sacred places in this territory.

"One such place is Mhungumwe, where the eight met their fate. A chief died there a long time ago, in the 1600s, and there has since been more than eight generations of chiefs.

"I am in mourning; mourning for the decimation of a family in a way never experienced before in Zimbabwe."

Chief Makuni said since the deceased had been buried, what was left now was to find out from the leaders of the sect why they decided to hold their ceremony at the pool.

"We want to find out whether they were praying to deliver people, or engaging in rituals not acceptable by the guardians of Mhungumwe," he said.

"The penalty for violating the pool is 20 head of cattle. Through negotiations, we may bring the number down to 15. Upon further deliberations, the penalty may be reassessed upwards."

Chief Makuni will be sitting with a council, comprising himself, headmen and other leaders from the area and the church members and their families will have to settle the penalty to cleanse the realm of the sacrilege before everything else is done.

If the church leaders decide not to attend, disregarding the chief's role in such matters, preferring to seek recourse in the law, he said the community would go the same route.

"There are some issues that only traditional leaders can solve," said Chief Makuni.

"The law falls short in such matters. The police cannot solve them. However, if they take that route, we will go to the police as well.

"We will also involve councillors, since we have invited the councillor from the area where the incident happened, so that he apprises us on what happened at the pool."

Chief Makuni said the church leaders and their followers must have known that the place was sanctified, since their forefathers were born in the area, their parents are from there, and they were born there.

"Everyone from here knows that the place is sacred," he said.

Delving into the history of the pool, he said Bvumo, the ancestor, was assassinated owing to succession disputes involving three brothers.

Mhungumwe was his sanctuary.

He used to keep his snuff and other paraphernalia in its environs. His assassins attacked him there and threw his body into the pool.

"Although his body was later retrieved and buried elsewhere as required by tradition, after about 10 days, Mhungumwe is still considered his grave," said Chief Makuni.

"His blood was shed there."

The "prophets" who drowned were brothers Peter (46) and Tendai Marera (28), Naison Dhliwayo (31), Alexio Makombe (20), Tichawana Katiyo (32), Isaac Tokora (21), Lanciot Tokora (34), and Chriswell Kunyengerera.

Source - The Herald