Harare (New Ziana) –The Zimbabwe Gender Commission says it will soon start its investigation into complaints of sexual abuse against Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries leader Walter Magaya after the Supreme Court dismissed his appeal against the intended inquiry.
Last Thursday, the Supreme Court dismissed an application by Magaya to nullify a 2019 High Court ruling that authorised the ZGC to investigate allegations of sexual abuse levelled against him.
The ZGC in 2019 issued General Notice 1444 inviting victims of sexual abuse by Magaya to come forward as part of its investigation to ascertain how widespread the allegations were, following a deluge of complaints against the man of cloth.
Magaya approached the High Court seeking an order to bar the ZGC from conducting the inquiry, arguing that it did not have the mandate to do so and that it was a violation of his constitutional rights.
The High Court ruled in favour of the ZGC continuing with its investigation, prompting Magaya to approach the highest court in the land.
In her judgment, Justice Anne-Marie Gowora said the High Court ruling should be upheld, since barring the ZGC from conducting investigations would be a violation of the law.
Justice Gowora dismissed the appeal with cost after saying it was devoid of merit.
She for every law that was gazetted, there was a presumption of validity and appropriate legal mechanisms would have been put in place in terms of the law where one intended to challenge the validity of a legal instrument.
“Until it has been set aside, the Genral Notice has the force of law and anything done under it is presumed to be lawful and valid. An application for an interdict is not and cannot by any stretch of the imagination be considered as one of those mechanisms,” she said.
Commenting on the judgement, ZGC chief executive officer Virginia Muvanigwa said they celebrated it as a victory for the Constitution which set the commission up and gave it its mandate.
“The Supreme Court judgement upholds the right of the ZGC to conduct its constitutional mandate ‘to investigate possible violations of rights related to gender’.”
Muwanigwa said the ZGC would now proceed with its investigation in order to ascertain whether violations had indeed occurred and if so, ‘to ensure that injustices are remedied’.
Over the past few years, Magaya has been embroiled in sexual impropriety scandals involving several of his female congregants, including the 2019 deluge of complaints which prompted the ZGC to issue the General Notice announcing its intention to investigate him.
In 2018, he appeared in court facing charges of rape, unlawful termination of pregnancy and obstruction of justice with the victim later withdrawing the charges but the state proceeded with the traial, saying it had evidence showing that he transferred $100 000 into her account in order to buy her silence.