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By Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWEAN police on Monday arrested a controversial church leader accused of raping his maid on five occasions following intense pressure from at least THIRTY FIVE women's organisations which threatened to stage a series of demonstrations against the police for failing to act on the complaints.

Obadiah Msindo, 36, the founder and leader of the Destiny for Africa Network was behind bars after being seized early Monday. He was immediately taken to court and had the charges laid against him before a magistrate remanded him in custody to April 20.

Msindo recently donated $130 million towards President Robert Mugabe's 82nd birthday celebrations and has presided over several State occasions at the Heroes Acre.

He is also known to have offered prayers for Mugabe and denounced Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

We revealed recently how Zimbabwe's police commissioner, Augustine Chihuri, had unsuccessfully tried to block Msindo’s arrest, but the Director of Public Prosecutions, Loice Matanda Moyo, had ordered his prosecution after pressure by women’s groups.

Msindo's dramatic arrest follows a petition by the Women’s Coalition, the umbrella organisation for all women and children’s organisations, calling on the police to act against Msindo.

The women said in a statement Sunday: "The Women’s Coalition is shocked that after the Attorney General declared that Obadiah Msindo has a case to answer, he has not been arrested. Failure to arrest Msindo to answer to the charges of rape will leave us no choice but to march in protest. We deserve protection and justice against gender-based violence as citizens of this country."

Teddy Kamuriwo, prosecuting, told a Harare magistrate that the alleged rape took place in Msindo's flat in Harare in July 2004 after the woman had been introduced to him by one Diva Pick, whom she had met at the Employment Bureau.

The first rape is alleged to have occurred on July 5, 2004 -- the same day Msindo met the 22-year-old woman.

After taking her to his home, having agreed to employ her as his maid, Msindo is alleged to have slipped into her blankets during the night and raped her once while his two children lay in a spare bedroom.

The next morning, the court heard, Msindo found the woman cleaning the house and grabbed her by the waist and led her to his bedroom where she was raped again.

Prosecutors say a knock was heard on Msindo's door, and while he was attending to the visitor at the door, the maid had tried to lock herself in a spare bedroom but Msindo returned in time, then pulled her onto the bed, and raped her for the third time.

Later in the night, Msindo is said to have lifted the maid while she slept onto his bed, and raped her again. Two days after the first rape allegedly occurred, Msindo is said to have raped her the fifth time after waking up in the night wrapped in a green towel. He again lifted her onto his bed and raped her, it is alleged.

Msindo is not the only vocal ecclesiastical supporter of President Robert Mugabe's regimen disgraced by criminal conduct.

One of Mugabe's most visible ecclesiastical sympathisers, pastor Lawrence Katsiru of the apostolic sect, who notoriously commanded his followers to Zanu PF gatherings, is serving seven years in jail for raping a 13 year old girl.

Katsiru took the minor for “counseling” at his farm after her parents had complained about her bad behavior after he indicated that he wanted to take the girl to Marondera “to spiritually discipline her”. He raped her once on the way.

Another pastor, Madzibaba Nzira, who at one time announced that he had a prophecy to the effect that Mugabe was Zimbabwe’s rightful ruler, was last year slapped with a 32-year jail term for raping a woman in his sect.

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