Madzibaba Ishmael Chokurongera’s cult needs to be investigated, as a matter of urgency, a Girl Child rights advocate has said. This publication’s readers are calling for his arrest.

Ishmael created a cult at his plot in Nyabira where the followers, some of whom are said to be living in captivity at the complex, call their home ‘Canaan’.

He is called Mambo Ishmael.

The children, who are born out of the cult’s unions, are not allowed to acquire birth certificates and are not allowed to go to school.

The girls will only be waiting to be forced into marriage, even at the young ages of 13.

Ekenia Chifamba, of Shamwari Yemwanasikana, said:

“The sad part is that no efforts are being made by the families in question to break the cycle and bring about a difference and a change to the future generation.

“Churches are supposed to be places of worship that bring mental sanity, safe spaces where one can find a shoulder to lean on, spaces of engagement on various initiatives including social, economic and political.

“It is that space where you can learn best practices, exchange and utilise them for the best.

“The Holy Spirit itself brings sanity, peace, and coordination on how things are done.

“In church, you create families without fear of being judged, or intimidation and what is happening at this shrine, one person instilled fear into families and made them believe that there is nothing that matters in life other than to wait for God to come.”

She added:

“Churches in Zimbabwe are supposed to be regularised, because look at issues of child marriages, not only in this particular church but also in other apostolic churches where elders of the church are taking advantage of their congregants.

“At the end of the day, young girls who are preyed upon by these elders are losing their lives, babies.”

Chifamba called for the protection of children.

“There is cholera, people are dying and these people do not even allow those who are sick to go to hospital.

“It’s a matter of being brainwashed and nobody in this situation is using their brains.”

Child rights defender, Maxim Murungweni said, there is a need for a thorough investigation.

“This is against the fight against child rights violations. These beliefs go against the SDGs where every child has a right to education, health, and good shelter.”

H-Metro readers have also called for the arrest of Ishmael.