Walter Masocha: A Jim Jones In The Making?

Walter Masocha (Founder and Archbishop at Agape For All Nations Church International)

masochaMasocha seen here walking on congregants jackets as a red carpet, and taking human worship to another level is currently facing sexual abuse charges in Scotland. In addition, several congregants accuse him of financial, emotional and other forms of abuse they suffered while attending his various church locations in the United Kingdom.

Seven years ago Walter Masocha was a professor of Accounting at a University in Scotland and a part time preacher with a group named Zimbabwe Assemblies of God Africa (ZAOGA). It is not clear what the circumstances of his departure from this church were but reports suggest that he was sacked for various forms of abuse. After leaving ZAOGA in mysterious circumstances he says he he was in prayer one day when he saw clouds and rainbows and a voice telling him to start Agape church in Stirling Scotland.

masocha3However, seven years later many members have left the church disgruntled about what they describe as rampant sexual, financial and emotional abuse. During church services it is reported that women sit in his lap calling him daddy and others kneel before him in worship. The Archbishop, Walter Masocha is currently married to Judith Lewis but according to people close to the family she was his second wife which has raised questions regarding his eligibility to be a Bishop if one is to follow biblical teaching. The Christian Bible teaches that a Bishop should have one wife and having any more disqualifies an individual to that high office as prescribed in the christian doctrine.

Agape for All Nations Church International is 7 years old and does not own a single building. Members who have spoken out say tithes and offerings and special offerings are collected at local assemblies called satellites and forwarded to Stirling the Headquarters of Agape leaving local members to finance operating costs out of their pockets. When the Archbishop flies to local assemblies it is the local parishioners that have to foot the bill. Former members say this put a financial strain on their family life because Masocha and his entourage and bodyguards only fly British Airways, only drink Evian water and mostly only stay in luxury 5 star accommodation. Many left the church due to monetary pressures exerted on them to finance the leader’s lifestyle. Former members report that even when a member would like to be married by the Bishop, they have to purchase a tailor made suit, fly the Bishop in first class and pay for his accommodation before he can officiate at a wedding ceremony.

Masocha has degree from the unaccredited Friends International Christian University which has graduated notable scandal ridden pastors such as  Clarence McClendon & Ida Hilliard. Despite professing to be of the protestant pentecostal faith Masocha’s regalia resembles that of the Pope in Rome. He demands that his congregants refer to him as ‘daddy’ despite the fact that the Christian Bible in Matthew 23:9 forbids this practice where the head of the church Jesus Christ stated “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.” Masocha can be seen regularly walking on congregants jackets .In services men are assigned the task of wiping off his sweat as he preaches and former members report that members drink his leftover coffee or tea and use his used bed sheets in order to receive the blessing that he has.

Allegations of sexual misconduct have surrounded the church and yet the church has remained largely silent. Lately they have resorted to threatening the blogger Jean Gasho  a former member of Agape whose blog http://www.hewasmydaddy.blogspot.com  is a forum that brought to light the covered up abuses at the church;and publisher of http://www.nehandaradio.com Lance Guma who broke the story with bodily harm. In retaliation, Agape and Masocha’s supporters have launched scathing attacks on Jean Gasho through their blog http://heisstillmydaddy.blogspot.com/ by exposing her parents and siblings all the while still preaching that Agape is a church about love.

masocha2Through Jean Gasho’s blog many fomer and current members report that parents whose children were sexually violated by Masocha or at Youth Conferences by other members have received large sums of money not to press charges against the perpetrators. The culture of silence is a reminder of the the fear that many who lived under the repressive Mugabe regime have for authority figures. They fear going to report the abuse because of his status as a man of the cloth. Many of the women who were abused are illegal immigrants and fear that going to the police will jeopardize their status in the U.K and that they will be deported so they suffer in silence.

It has been reported that there are members of the church who took off work to fast and pray for their leader. Some have taken out loans to help with his bail and erroneously use the scripture ‘touch not my anointed and do my prophets no harm’ they believe that it applies to their leader who cannot be questioned and rules with absolute decree in the name of God. They suffer abuse and load off huge sums of money in the hope that one day they too will be blessed to live the opulent lifestyle of Masocha.

However, as the Archbishop prepares to stand trial for the sexual allegations he is facing there are reports that the bishop has moved his holdings offshore as Jim Jones did in moving to Gayana when investigations into his ministry started. There are many who are concerned that their family members will sell their homes and move overseas in the name of following the vision of the man of God and end up drinking the ‘kool aid’. These family members refuse to ask Masocha to deny the assertions because up to now he is yet to deny publicly the allegations. The major concern is not that they are nonchalant about the matter but that they fear falling out of favor with Masocha as they have seen happen to those who asked him about the grievances filed against him.

It remains to be seen what the fate of Agape Church or Walter Masocha will be but it is a constant reminder of church and religion can be abused and sometimes with grave consequences as was the case with Jim Jones. Jim Jones was the founder and the leader of the Peoples Temple who in 1978 led 909 of his members to drink cyanide laced drink in Jonestown, Guyana in the name of following their leader.

Additional articles on the rise of  Cults and Mystics may be useful.

 

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