Another Word for Predator: Lets Talk Prophet Walter Magaya
Walter Magaya is one of the most celebrated self-proclaimed prophets and religious leaders in Zimbabwe. He is the founder of Prophetic Healing Ministries, a church that has over one million members, and has gathered up to over 200 000 congregates at their most successful. The church is easily one of the most spoken about in Zimbabwe, every joke, every religious miracle and all mentions of spiritual redemption are topped off with the mention of Walter Magaya. Born 6 November 1983 Walter grew up in a catholic church and started his church after traveling to Nigeria and having allegedly had an anointing encounter with world renowned TB Joshua.
In August 2016, Walter Magaya was arrested for the rape of Petronella Donhodzo Mandaza. After an alleged attempt to withdraw the charges and allegations that Petronella was being threatened and feared for her life, a statement was finally released stating she had recanted her statement and insisted she had not been raped. No one wanted to believe it. It was almost a relief to those who did not know what to believe because it made it easier to call the allegations fibs. Some were convinced immediately, having heard consistent rumours in the past, and in speculation of similar rumours around Prophet Magaya and a popular Zimbabwean exotic dancer. The State at this time decided that it would proceed with the trial, and a referral to the Constitution was granted. All the while these events unfolded Magaya was receiving endorsements, support, land from politicians and public praise from the First Lady at the time. His life remained unscathed, while those that support him, slandered Petronella, and any other person who brought up the consistency of allegations within PDH Ministries. In January 2017, videos and several conversations leaked, revealing that there had been a relationship between Petronella and Walter. The emergence this information seemed to not have come at a better time for him because it was them assumed he had just slept with her, because Prophet Walter Magaya, or anyone else really, could not possibly rape their girlfriend. Which is false because consent remains a continuous transaction that cannot be waivered because two people are married, in a relationship or previously sexually acquainted.
On June 26th Enisia Mushusha went live on Facebook with Mr and Mrs Maenzanise, who alleged that when their daughter was a minor, Walter Magaya had raped and conceived a child with her. Not long after this, Chenai Agatha Maenzanise-Hassan released a video in dismissal of everything that had been said by her parents. It was uncomfortable to say the least.
On the 10thof July 2018 Charity Dlodlo released a statement alleging that she too had been sexually abused by Walter Magaya, insisting that it was not the first time she was telling her story. In her report Charity stated not only had Walter initiated his advances via pornographic materials on WhatsApp, he had subsequently assaulted her while she waited for him to pray for her. Charity also admitted to having been confided in by Sarah Maruta who had twice been raped by Walter Magaya. Less than 72 hours after her statement Charity recanted and said none of what she had said was true including the names of four other women she knew personally who had encountered the same thing. Among these allegations also linger the claims of rape that never caught traction in the main stream media (please note only names of women who have previously publicly shared their stories are below, no one has been prejudicially exposed):
- In August 2014, Denford Mutashu instituted a US$500,000 adultery proceedings against Prophet Magaya after his wife Nomusa Mutashu had made assault allegations and then subsequently been gifted a car by Magaya.
- In 2014, after Magaya had apparently delivered the popular exotic dancer Bev, she made multiple statements insinuating that the ‘man of god’ was not what he claimed to be and subsequently cut ties.
- Angella Charakupa reported being raped by Walter Magaya, and after the circulation of their personal communications, an out of court settlement was reached.
We cannot continue to treat each report of rape like it is peculiar and standing on its own when there is an obvious pattern. Multiple names have been dropped and deductive reasoning tells us that if we threw a stone inside Prophetic Healing Ministries, it would hit someone who has been assaulted by Zimbabwe’s favourite prophet. Followers of his Ministry and a large part of the religious population have refused to believe their leader could be anything but anointed. Magaya has thrived in the perpetual benefit of the doubt that comes with manhood.
‘why would he rape?’
‘how many sex workers are in the street?’
Statements that could only be accurate if rape was about sex. Rape is NOT about sex. It is only about power. There can be no sex without consent, only violation. The facts on the ground are that he names of these women are lost in intricate headlines and their stories are interrogated into oblivion. Women are encouraged to speak up and when they do they are suffocated into withdrawing or criticised for how they chose to tell their story. The Sunday Mail has recently reported that there are currently multiple pending survivors unsure if they want to tell their stories. In all his responses Magaya has only stated that he is man of god with many enemies. It is curious that he would condemn that Apostolic Church when his practices are clearly cut from the same cloth. Brothers in predatorship. Both using religion to prey on women they know will never be believed.
We are yet to hear a rational explanation as to why and how countless accusations can be untrue or how they came to be. It is because there isn’t one. And between the unwavering support and religious capture of government institutions I see why he feels like he will never have to. The facts of most significance are that women have told their stories and they were not believed. The personal circumstances that led to withdrawals and settlements is not the crux of the story because we cannot possibly crave to understand that if we refuse to believe what is clear in front of us. There will be another Chido, another Tecla, another Caroline, Petronellah, Precious, another Diana, Sarah and another Charity.
So when will enough be enough?