Godfrey Pegnick Nzira who was affectionately known as Madzibaba Nzira (born in 1953 in Mhondoro and died on 23 October 2011) was a self proclaimed prophet and a divine healer. He was a leader of the Johanne Masowe WeChishanhu (JMC) apostolic sect after breaking away from Madzibaba Sanders in 1990 to lead his own JMC sect in Chitungwiza. He was seen by his legion of followers as a demi god and was also regarded as one of the most 'faithful sons' of Robert Mugabe who was accused of forcing his followers to grace the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front's (ZANU PF) functions. In 2003 he was convicted of raping seven women but was however controversially pardoned by Mugabe and was released on 19 January 2011. He had seven children with four wives.
Nzira was born deaf and dumb. It was through the relentless efforts of his mother who consulted several traditional healers and 'prophets' to ensure that her son would be rescued from this 'dilemma'.
Nzira grew up under the tutelage of Madzibaba Sanders and it was reported that Nzira got all his poultry, carpentry and gardening skills whilst at Sander's sect (which he also introduced at his own Julani Firi Santa Shrine). He began his ministry in 1977 as a leader (madzibaba).In 1990, he decided to lead his own Johanne Masowe WeChishanu sect.
Allegiance to ZANU PF
Nzira was pin pointed as a staunch ZANU PF supporter. He admitted that he was a ZANU PF loyalist and he campaigned for Mugabe. By virtue of being under the leadership of Nzira, his followers were also ZANU PF fanatics. Reports however circulated stating that Nzira forced his followers to attend ZANU PF functions such as attending the party's rallies and the burial of the party's 'heroes' at the National Heroes Acre.
During the 2002, presidential elections, Nzira stated that,
His boot-licking later paid off after he was implicated as a serial rapist in 2003.
In 2003, Nzira was arrested on seven accounts of rape. Nzira who was allegedly claimed to have been wrongfully accused was exposed by Betty Makoni, a gender activist. It was reported that women were being raped at Nzira's shrine who stated that it was a directive from the 'spirit' to ensure that such individuals would be healed. Nzira however denied that he was a serial rapist arguing that his enemies who had long wanted his demise were finally winning.
Nzira was found guilty and was sentenced to 42 years imprisonment though 10 years were suspended on the condition of good behaviour. In February 2006, Nzira appealed to High Court for both his conviction and sentence hoping that he would be pardoned. His sentence was reduced to 20 years.
His Controversial Release
On 19 January 2011, Nzira was controversially released from Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison. His release became a topical issue and it raised speculations amongst many people especially gender activists who felt betrayed by the justice system. It was reported that his release was due to his ill health which was deteriorating on a daily basis whilst he was in jail.
Contrary to this widely reported view that Nzira's release was premised on medical conditions, the utterances by Johannes Tomana who was the then Attorney General, fuelled the fire which was already burning with fury. He stated that, the power to free prisoners was in the hands of the President implying that Nzira's release was a directive from the President. Mr Jonathan Samukange, Nzira's lawyer substantiated Tomana's statement as he stated that,
any prisoner who feels he has a justifiable reason to be freed could petition the President
Samukange credited himself for successfully petitioning for his client. Nzira's release was thus reported to have had political connotations.
When Nzira was released from prison, he hosted a party which lasted for a week and it was attended by senior ZANU PF members including Tomana and Webster Shamu amongst others. It was reported that on each day, two beasts were slaughtered and booze, drugs as well as prostitutes were readily available. This was contrary to the doctrine of Nzira's sect which denounced such 'insanity'. In Cape Town, South Africa, his followers gathered in Hout Bay for an all night vigil celebrating the release of their leader.
Nzira died on 23 October 2011 after succumbing to a heart related disease. By the time of his death, he was still being regarded as a beacon of hope by his followers.
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- Mugabe rapist Madzibaba Nzira dies, Nehanda Radio, published:24 Oct 2011,retrieved:28 July 2014"
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- Feminist Chronicles: Diary 13: Betty Makoni, MaDube's Reflection:,retrieved:28 July 2014"
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