reprinted with minor corrections and additions from Nehanda radio

by Fungai Lupande

Founder of the United Family International Church, Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa, is building a house for Chief Kasekete Changara of Mashonaland Central. The three bed-room house is being built at the chief’s homestead in Gweshe Village, Muzarabani South.

Construction started a fortnight ago and will be complete in the next few weeks. In an interview, Chief Kasekete, a traditional leader in the Dande area of Muzarabani District, was exhilarated about Prophet Makandiwa’s generosity and said this will go a long way in cementing the relationship between chiefs and churches.

“Makandiwa is a child who grew up in my area of jurisdiction and his parents live at Vhudzijena Village, Muzarabani,” said Chief Kasekete. “In 2010, he came here during one of his crusades and paid me a courtesy visit. He promised me that one day he will build me a house, only to return this year to fulfil his promise.” Chief Kasekete urged all church leaders to emulate what Prophet Makandiwa has done and help chiefs in their areas.

Prophet Makandiwa’s father Mr Wilson Makandiwa, who was present, said he was happy that his son chose to honour his chief.

Zanu-PF MP for Muzarabani South constituency Edward Raradza commended Prophet Makandiwa for giving back to the community where he was raised. “The community is blessed to have a child like Prophet Makandiwa who looks back to his people,” he said. I am a member of the African Apostolic Church, and I am not here to preach to you about [Prophet] Makandiwa’s church but to applaud his noble gesture. Chiefs should be accorded their place and this is surely a show of love.”

A recent series by a London-based “SW Radio Africa” journalist Lance Guma exposed the role Chief Kasekete and MP Raradza played in the violence and murder in Muzarabani in the run-up to 2008 presidential elections.

Chief Changara Kasekete led a campaign of political violence that resulted in the death of more than 22 MDC-T officials and supporters in 2008. Kasekete and Raradza were in command of a group of over 400 ZANU-PF militia and armed soldiers. They were responsible for the abductions and murder of MDC-T ward officials such as Tennyson Manyimo, Titus Goho, Canaan Dzamwarira, Clemence Chirozva, Learnmore Chingani, Muzumbe, Taurai Chamboko, Ratidzayi Dzenga , Freddy Macheka and Biggie Zhuwawo.

On June 3, 2008, Kasekete addressed a rally at Hoya Primary School and ordered all ZANU-PF supporters and militia to burn down all MDC-T supporters’ homes that night. The militants went on a rampage and “homes went up in flames, men, women and children were ruthlessly assaulted and tortured.”

In June last year, SW Radio Africa posted new and shocking video footage online exposing MP Raradza. In the video Raradza could be seen and heard threatening villagers with violence if they support the MDC-T. He warned people at the meeting that those who support the MDC-T will be beaten by war vets and youth militias, or denied food as punishment.