'Mugabe bishop' has jail term reduced

Harare, Zimbabwe - A ZIMBABWE court on Wednesday slashed by 12 years a 32-year jail sentence on appeal for one of President Robert’s Mugabe’s most vocal ecclesiastical backers -- self proclaimed prophet Madzibaba Godfrey Nzira.

Nzira, 32, will now serve 20 years after being convicted of rape.

Nzira who in 2002 said Mugabe was a “divinely appointed king of Zimbabwe and no man should dare challenge his office” had sought the quashing of both his conviction and sentence imposed by a court in 2003.

Justice Lawrence Kamocha conceded that the sentence was excessive, but dismissed the appeal against conviction.

Several churchmen have lined behind Mugabe in support. Anglican bishop Norbert Kunonga shocked the world when he said Mugabe was “actually more merciful than God Himself."

Two other prominent backers of the President, Obadiah Msindo and Lawrence Katsiru of the apostolic sect, have also had run-ins with the law.

Msindo, head of the Destiny of Africa Network, faces arrest for allegedly raping his maid five times before dismissing him from work.

Katsiru was last month slapped with a seven year sentence for raping a 13 year old girl from his sect.