Magaya sexual abuse inquiry re-starts – GCZ
Harare February(New Ziana) – The Gender Commission of Zimbabwe (GCZ) has re-started its inquiry into sex abuse allegations against Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries leader, Walter Magaya leveled by female congregants of the church, now that the preacher’s interdict in the Supreme Court had collapsed.
The GCZ launched an inquiry into the allegations in 2019 after a number of female congregants of the church accused the preacher of sexual abuse, cases which aroused deep anger among members of the public across the country.
But Magaya, one of the country’s high profile preachers, countered the move with a series of court applications to block the investigation.
However, his last legal resort in the Supreme Court, collapsed in October last year when the court upheld an earlier dismissal of his challenge by the High Court.
“The premise of the interdict was that the intended investigation was illegal from several bases, the first being the want of jurisdiction to conduct an investigation and the alleged illegal exercise of that jurisdiction by the Commission. It was the intention of the appellant to subject the decision to issue the Notice to a review process,” it said.
“It is pertinent to point out that for every law that is gazetted there is a presumption of validity and appropriate legal mechanisms have been put in place in terms of the law where one intends to challenge the validity of a legal instrument. Until it has been set aside, the General 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.”
Armed with the judicial success from the Supreme Court, GCZ chief executive officer Virginia Muwanigwa told New Ziana the commission was now re-starting its inquiry into Magaya’s alleged sex abuse cases, which it had suspended pending the outcome of the court challenges.
She said the commission was now inviting members of the public, particularly victims, to come forward with evidence.
“So yes, we are back on course collecting information and we are encouraging everyone to come forward,” she said.
But Muwanigwa said the resignation of a commissioner in charge of its legal department could now also affect the investigation.
“So we no longer have a Commissioner with a legal background. But otherwise we do work with the resources that we have,” she said, dismissing fears the case, as has happened with others involving high profile figures, will simply ‘die.’
“The process may not proceed the way people want, but it is not about rushing. It has to be meticulous,” she said.
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