More stunning claims are emerging regarding the mad-scramble within President Robert Mugabe’s warring Zanu PF to control the aged and mysterious leader of a secretive apostolic sect, who is acclaimed by his followers for having uncannily prophesied in 1957 that independent Zimbabwe would be ruled by a man with the name of an angel, Gabriel.
Stressed family members of the popular Madzibaba Wimbo — the head of the Mount Darwin-based Johane Masowe Vadzidzi Vajesu Church — narrated in graphic detail to the Daily News on Sunday at the weekend how senior army officials allegedly pushing for Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to succeed Mugabe had “abducted” Wimbo in a bid to force a succession prophecy out of the frail 94-year-old prophet.
While there is no documentary evidence to prove the enigmatic Wimbo’s prophecy, who is famed for having allegedly foretold 60 years ago that Zimbabwe would be led by a man with the name of an angel, Gabriel — this remarkably came to pass when Mugabe, whose middle name is Gabriel, took power from the British in April 1980.
One of Wimbo’s sons, Abinashen Gomo, was unequivocal yesterday that the deadly factional and succession wars that are devouring Zanu PF, and pitting Mnangagwa’s supporters against young and ambitious party members who go by the moniker Generation 40 (G40), was the reason why Mudzidzi Wimbo had been “abducted” in a desperate bid to get his blessing.
He went on to finger senior military official, Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba and church official Zex Pamacheche, as prime players behind Wimbo’s alleged abduction in June last year, as well as the seer’s subsequent holding at his church’s shrine — thereby completely denying the family access to him.
Nyikayaramba is now referred to as Wimbo’s church’s security chief.
Well-placed Zanu PF sources who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday yesterday supported Gomo’s claims, saying the alleged abduction was the reason why Mugabe had spent more than five hours in a closed-door meeting with members of the apostolic sect last weekend, getting a briefing on the thuggish bid by Zanu PF bigwigs to extract a definitive succession prophecy out of Wimbo.
“It’s true that desperate times demand desperate measures and that some senior soldiers are effectively holding Madzibaba Wimbo hostage until he anoints their preferred Zanu PF official the successor to … Mugabe.
“… Mugabe has even been forced to move to set up a committee led by (Mashonaland Central governor Martin) Dinha to look into this embarrassing matter of superstition, thuggery and unbridled ambition,” the official said.
Contacted for a comment yesterday, Nyikayaramba confirmed to the Daily News on Sunday that Mugabe had indeed become enmeshed in the matter.
“We met with the president who set up a commission to look into the matter, but I suggest that you wait until the commission completes its mandate then you can get my views or you can ask the provincial minister (Dinha) who organised the meeting with His Excellency. Think that is more professional,” Nyikayaramba said.
But Gomo was adamant that Nyikayaramba, together with Pamacheche — a Zanu PF official who lost to Nicholas Goche in the Shamva North primary elections — had allegedly misled Mnangagwa into believing that Wimbo wanted to anoint the embattled VP for the leadership of the ruling party and the country.
“We know for a fact that our father was forcibly taken from us for political reasons by military force, at the behest of Nyikayaramba, who has assumed the role of the church’s chief security officer,” Gomo — who is also the local village head — said.
He also said while the family saw Wimbo “as nothing more than a father and cleric”, the country’s ruling elite saw him “as a kingmaker who has the anointing to solve the Zanu PF succession matrix”.
Gomo further lamented that far from being a blessing, Wimbo’s famous 1957 prophecy had become “a curse to the family” as it was now haunting them as Zanu PF bigwigs brawled over Mugabe’s succession.
“We know that they took our father to stay with them at the shrine so that they could force him to pronounce that Mnangagwa was Mugabe’s successor, taking advantage of his age.
“They keep him drugged every time so that he can dance to their tune, but it’s not working because the man is too old and probably senile now. They are flogging a dead horse because he cannot be a kingmaker in Zanu PF.
“They must solve their issues alone and not involve our father who must be resting with his family. How do you trouble such an old man just for power’s sake? That is not fair.
None of his relatives are allowed to see him, including all but one of his four wives. They are working with his 58-year-old third wife (Jesta Kanzara), with whom he has no children,” Gomo fumed.
Wimbo’s second wife, Enesia Mhukuta — whom he married in 1958 — said it was now almost one full year since she and the other two wives had seen their husband.
She added that the shrine where he was allegedly being held against his will was a no-go area for them, with youths having been allegedly hired from Harare, Chitungwiza and Shamva to guard him.
“A boom gate has been erected and is manned by the youths with instructions to bar us, selected church members and surrounding community residents from entering the shrine.
“It pains me that after living together with my husband since 1958, I have now been forced to separate from him. I know the president has intervened, but I will only rest after seeing my husband back home so that I can help to take care of him.
“Pfuti dzakarira pano pamusha vachitora baba asi ndipo potonzwa kuti vana ndivo vakadzinga baba pano. Vanhu vanodirei kureva nhema pamunhu anodiwa nemhuri yake zvakadaro.
(There were gunshots here when they took him away, yet we now hear people lie that his children forced him away. Why do people manufacture such lies about someone so dear to his family)
“The only time I was allowed to see him at the shrine, he could only manage to tell me that he wants to come back home and from there he seemed to have lost his senses and we hear they are giving him drugs. Do you think that is good at his age?” Mhukuta said.
Recent attempts to see Wimbo by one of his sons, who is a chief superintendent in the police force, had ended in violence, with him and his sister being assaulted by those guarding the prophet.
Last year, Mnangagwa visited Wimbo at his shrine and got involved in a bizarre church rite, with the popular prophet telling the gathering that the VP needed help to ascend to the presidency.
Mnangagwa was told by Wimbo, also known as Mudzidzi Majinetsa, that it was time that he got others to put shoulder on the wheel to help him in his ambitions.
Wimbo, who initially had said he was not going to speak, sat slouched in a sofa as Mnangagwa delivered his speech on that visit, and suddenly changed his mind and ordered the embattled VP into his holy ground, while starting to prophesy in a trance.
With Mnangagwa in tow, Wimbo walked with so much difficulty, with two men supporting him as he wobbled through the grounds. He then ordered the VP, who is nicknamed the Crocodile, to follow him step by step.
At intervals, Wimbo stopped, and many of his pumped-up followers, seemingly overwhelmed by the occasion, also went into trances.
And through an interpreter, Wimbo said, “Anoda (Mnangagwa) kubatsirwa, angazvigona seiko ari oga. Handizive kuti ndoita zvipiko. Varikunditevera nditeverei nekuno. (The man needs help, he is helpless on his own).
As he spoke, the crowd roared with many dressed in pink, white, sky blue and light green garments speaking in tongues. Disappointingly, the prophecy was so brief and cryptic that it left many in suspense.
In the country’s tumultuous political field, religion has become a source of strength and at times the means to power for many politicians.
Mugabe himself has often donned the garments of apostolic sects in previous, as he has courted the key support of influential church organisations.
“Mnangagwa is the most senior politician to visit the shrine. Defence forces commander Constantine Chiwenga also used to visit there with his former wife Jocelyn, but that is a long time ago,” Gomo said