By Farai D Hove | Harare, [10 Dec 2023] – Emmerson Mnangagwa on Sunday morning arrived at the infamous Yadah Hotel premises in Harare, home to Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) ministries founder Walter Magaya’s controversial “Heart Stadium,” built from fraud money. The opening ceremony, intended to mark a new chapter in the preacher’s ministry, is overshadowed by persistent allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse against Magaya.
Yadah Hotel, linked to numerous complaints regarding the grooming of young women for sexual exploitation, has been under scrutiny, with Magaya himself acknowledging these activities in a police video recording. Even Defense Minister Oppah Muchinguri’s family has been named, yet President Mnangagwa remains silent on the matter despite the controversies reaching international attention, including the United Nations.
The premises were built using some of the money the preacher scamed investors a few who have been refunded after complaints.
The Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) reignited investigations last year into the sexual abuse allegations surrounding Magaya. In October 2022, the ZGC announced the resumption of inquiries, inviting submissions from victims of sexual exploitation by the controversial cleric. The investigations had initially received a legal setback in 2019 when the alleged victim withdrew charges against Magaya.
ZGC’s statement read, “The Zimbabwe Gender Commission wishes to advise members of the public that the investigation of the allegations of Sexual Exploitation and abuse of women levelled against Prophet Walter Magaya…has recommenced. We are happy that the courts have given legal judgments…which have paved the way for the continuation of our processes.”
Magaya is accused of raping a female congregant in August 2015, subsequently forcing her to terminate her pregnancy and allegedly silencing her with a $100,000 payout. Despite the victim withdrawing charges, the legal battle continued, with Magaya challenging the prosecution’s legality.
The High Court initially dismissed Magaya’s application, prompting him to seek recourse in the Supreme Court. ZGC was then granted the authority to resume investigations against the preacher, emphasizing the importance of victims coming forward to share their experiences of sexual exploitation and abuse within the denomination.
As President Mnangagwa inaugurates Magaya’s “Heart Stadium,” the cloud of controversy surrounding the preacher’s alleged misconduct looms large, raising questions about the government’s stance on these serious allegations and the impact on the credibility of religious figures in the country.