Thousands of people, some coming in from as far afield as South Africa and the United Kingdom, last week converged at Goora near Mount Darwin for the memorial service and the distribution of the estate of the late Mudzidzi Wimbo.
Mudzidzi Wimbo was the mystic and revered leader of the Johane Masowe Vadzidzi VaJesu Church.
Born Aaron Mhukuta, the late religious leader succumbed to renal failure at the age of 96.
Mudzidzi Wimbo shot to national prominence in 1980 when a prophecy he had made decades earlier came to pass.
In 1957, he pronounced that independent Zimbabwe would be led by a man with the name of an angel – Gabriel – and in 1980, the former leader of the country, Mr Robert Gabriel Mugabe, was elected into office.
He also prophesied the ascendancy of President Mnangagwa to power.
In a rare spectacle, the thousands of congregants, who were draped in colourful church regalia, sang and danced as they celebrated the life and works of one of the country’s most iconic religious leaders.
Apart from celebrating the life of a man who lived a simple life and dedicated much of his time to healing and preaching, the gathering also deliberated on two previously contentious issues.
We take a closer look at how the two disputable issues regarding the leadership of the church and the distribution of the cleric’s estate were deliberated upon.
The late cleric left behind a Will which was read to those that were in attendance. The Will bequeathed most of Mudzidzi Wimbo’s belongings to members of his family.
Although the majority of the family members did not see eye-to-eye during the latter years of the cleric, the majority of the members benefited, with some getting cars, land and the wives getting three houses in Bindura and Shamva.
Basing on the late cleric’s estate, Mudzidzi Wimbo was neither rich nor poor.
He lived a modest and comfortable life and had assets such as tractors, vehicles, grinding mills and land.
According to the Will, the surviving spouses were to remain in occupation of the houses that they are currently occupying.
Vehicles were also shared among the family members, with one of the grinding mills set aside for use by family members.
Madzibaba Wimbo’s tiled, 12-roomed house which the church built for him at the shrine is to be used by one of his sons and so will be the sleek Mercedes E250.
In recent years, a power struggle over the control of the church erupted, pitting the four-man leadership council that Mudzidzi Wimbo had appointed in 2010 against some of his sons.
This was despite the fact that in 2010, Mudzidzi Wimbo had anointed Ishmael Mugodi as his successor, giving him the task of leading the church’s estimated one million followers.
Magodi, who had worked closely with the late cleric, was tasked with leading a three-man council comprising Shepherd Chingwena, Zex Pamacheche and Eddison Mukohwa. During the memorial service, Mugodi was officially introduced as the new leader of the sect and the functions of the council were clearly spelt out.
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