Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Bishop locked up disabled son and performed 'rituals' on him for two years

A church bishop locked his paraplegic son in a room for two years because he believed it would ‘enhance his spiritual powers’, it has been claimed.

Joseph Nemaramba, 21, was reportedly found ‘malnourished and dirty with bruises and scars all over his body’ when he was rescued in the Zimbabwean town of Chimanimani.

His dad Namatai, a leader at the Zion Sabbath Christian Church, had allegedly been keeping his own child isolated with no food, water, clothing or medical care.

Joseph was unable to walk or talk, according to Acting Chief Saurombe who led a search for him after receiving a tip-off from Joseph’s aunt, Susan Mukocheya.

He told local media he rounded up a group of other locals and went to confront the Nemaramba family at the beginning of this month.

Acting Chief Saurombe said: ‘As we tried to open the door to the room where Joseph was locked, we heard his cries and whimpers.

‘This was after his father and siblings had vehemently denied that Joseph was locked in one of the rooms.

‘We threatened to break the door and that is when they unlocked it. We were shocked by the horrific conditions he was living in.’

A photo published by The Manica Post purports to show Joseph, extremely skinny, holding himself in the fetal position.

The young man was taken to hospital where he has managed to start speaking again and is currently re-learning to walk.

Nemaramba is believed to have admitted to holding his son captive, in Acting Chief Saurombe’s court, allegedly saying he had performed rituals to cause Joseph’s condition.

But he later claimed this confession was made under duress and is now reportedly on the run, with Acting Chief Saurombe believing ‘there is a mole within his family who is tipping him off and helping him to escape from justice’.

Susan said she had thought her nephew was dead after not seeing him for years.

She said: ‘He went to school with my son years ago and then shockingly became paraplegic. From then onwards, he was kept indoors. He stopped talking. He was not allowed to have visitors or enjoy fresh air.

‘Over the years I would ask my grandson about Joseph’s whereabouts. I was told that Joseph was now staying in Harare, but also concluded that he might have died and was buried secretly.’

The umbrella body for apostolic churches in Zimbabwe, The Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe, said it is investigating Nemaramba.

Nemaramba has not been arrested by law enforcement, with provincial police saying they are yet to receive an official report.

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