Charles Mabhena

A self-styled Harare prophet, Joseph Emmanuel has been hauled to the courts over abusive behaviour and demanding that his young daughter should abandon school and  get married.

The Harare Civil Court recently heard a case where Christine Nyabanga sued her husband whom she accused of physically abusing her for refusing to bow down to his demand that their daughter should get married.

“My husband is abusing me and he doesn’t want to send our children to school, saying it is against his church’s doctrine. When I look for piece jobs to send them to school he hits me saying I am hunting for men.

“As it stands, he wants our daughter to get married despite the fact that she is young and still wants to go to school,” she told the court.

She added that Emmanuel is not taking care of the family, always wandering around, claiming to be praying for people who are facing various problems, where he eats and come home only to sleep.

Meanwhile, Emmanuel denied what his wife was saying, and told the court that his wife was not being honest in claiming abuse. “I never raised my hand on her, she is a prostitute, and once confessed having an affair with our church mate.

“Even though she confessed, I never hit her, but I only forgave her since the Lord encourages us to forgive one another,” he said.

These issues have been rife in Zimbabwe with some religious sects members refusing their children the right to education, in some instances some have even gone as far as refusing them medical attention when they get sick.

They say it is demonic to visit a clinic when sick and claim that they use prayers and holly water (muteuro) instead, amid reports that the elders in the churches visit the clinic they condemn behind the congregants’ back.  

Sometime in 2014, an apostolic sect in Budiriro that was led by Madzibaba Ishmael Mufani attacked Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) executive president Johannes Ndanga, who had visited their place of worship to tell them that they were violating the laws by forcing girls into marriage.

The ACCZ boss had visited the sect to enforce a ban against the church for massive human rights violations that included denial of children’s educational rights as well as abuses on women and girls.