'Murder' plot backfires for Harare 'prophet'

HARARE - A self-styled  prophet, who was early this year slapped with a 20-year jail term for rape, is on the run after trying to kill a man he suspected of nailing him during his trial.

Hebert Senda was jailed for rape on April 4 this year but successfully applied for bail pending appeal.

Now he is on the run after Blessing Chimbadzo, the man he allegedly tried to kill for persuading the rape victim to nail him, survived and reported to police the attempted murder.

Harare magistrate Stanford Mambanje has issued a warrant of arrest against Senda after he failed to appear in court to answer charges of kidnapping and attempted murder.

Senda has been accused of attempting to kill Chimbadzo after he bundled him into a car with the help of two other accomplices following a raid at his home in Southlea Park.

According to the court, on June 15, Chimbadzo was at his house when Senda and two accomplices, who are still at large, arrived armed with a knife and axe.
It was alleged that Senda sent one of his accomplices into Chimbadzo’s yard. The accomplice lied that he was Chimbadzo’s friend.

When Chimbadzo opened the door he saw Senda and the other two men who allegedly blindfolded and bundled him into a waiting car before driving to Southlea Park Dam.

When they arrived at the dam, it was alleged Chimbadzo was forced out of the car and had his hands and legs tied before being wrapped in a green fishing net.

Senda allegedly tied a 43kg stone to Chimbadzo and threw him into the dam intending to cause his death by drowning.

He hit a hard surface and sustained a deep cut on the back of his head and became unconscious forcing him to gulp large amounts of water.

Chimbadzo was rescued by fishermen who discovered him in the water during their fishing excursion, the State alleged.

The fishermen assisted him in getting medical attention at Harare Central Hospital.

Chimbadzo sustained serious injuries which needed sutures.

Senda was convicted of rape after the Harare Magistrates Court established that in August 2016 he had preyed on a victim who had sought spiritual help from him.

Prosecutor Michael Reza said that sometime in August 2016 the woman had personal problems and was referred to an apostolic sect in Budiriro 4 for prayers.

The woman consulted Senda and was told that her problem would only be solved during a ritual that involved bedding him.

She was tasked to wash the prophet’s garments and later accompanied him to a house in Budiriro where she would do the ironing. They left the residence around 11pm going back to the shrine and along the way Senda stopped his car, fondled and raped her before threatening her with death if she disclosed the matter.

Senda raped her again on the pretext that he wanted to apologise for what had happened the previous day.

The woman was later kidnapped and dumped in Chivhu by Senda’s “men” and sought help from highway vendors to return to Harare.

When Senda heard that she had safely returned, he offered her US$5 000 and two residential stands to drop the case but she refused and he was subsequently arrested.

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