Gumbura steals the limelight

HARARE - Zimbabwean stars fell from heroes to zero, glory to gloom, grace to grass, as their glitter was blinded by criminal charges and incarceration.

This year appeared to be a bad year for most artistes and public figures, who appeared in courts and made headlines for several days.

From the dramatic arrest and incarceration of flamboyant Independent End Time Message founder Robert Martin Gumbura to Munyaradzi (DJ Munya) Milimo’s murder charges, the courts were never short of action.

Gumbura tops the list and qualifies to be the court story of the year.

The pastor made headlines and continues to make news as his judgment date is set for January 8 next year.

He is a man who compares himself to the biblical David, who had many wives.

But, his, is truly a different story. With 11 wives and 30 children, Gumbura still longs for 70 more children.

He is battling to defend himself, after several church women filed rape charges against him.

Several accusations have been made, with claims the pastor was involved in group sex encounters, was in possession of pornographic material and believed in the power of placing church “rebels” in the hands of Satan.

But, he claims to be a Good Samaritan, suffering persecution.

He told the courts he lived an unblemished life, as he was in love with most of the women that claim he raped them.

According to his defence outline, Spoken Word Ministries pastor Godwin Chitsinde masterminded his arrest and incarceration. 

He said he is a victim of church politics.

The accusations found him trading his cloth for prison garb, just like DJ Munya did, after he spent several days in custody, before being freed on bail, following murder charges levelled against him.

Munya is jointly charged with Taurai Jani and Mohammed Matare and the trio is currently on bail, waiting trial at the High Court.

The state’s allegations appear to be from a movie a script, after claims that DJ Munya and his two accomplices participated in the death of Tinashe Magorimbo.

Magorimbo allegedly failed to pay DJ Munya $5 000 “compensation” for having an illicit affair with his wife.

The court heard Magorimbo allegedly gave DJ Munya a part payment of $1 000 through Jani and Matare in February this year.

It is alleged Magorimbo later became evasive, prompting DJ Munya to enlist the services of Jani and Matare to force him to pay.

He was eventually seen at his flat by his wife on May 18, naked with both hands tied with a rope.

He later died at West End hospital, where he had been admitted in the intensive care unit.

Among some of the stars that appeared in court, were jazz sensation Dudu Manhenga, flamboyant musician Energy Mutodi, former Big Brother Africa winner Wendall Parsons and prominent human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa.

Manhenga was sent to prison for an effective one-and-half-years for culpable homicide.

She spent close to two weeks in jail, before being freed on $200 bail by High Court Judge Felistas Chatukuta.

Manhenga was convicted on her own plea of guilty, after she admitted hitting Graham Martin to death in March 2010.

Another colourful businessman-cum-musician, Mutodi is currently on bail, following fraud charges, involving over $6 million, allegedly swindled from civil servants in Harare and Mutare in botched housing projects.

Former Big Brother star, Wendall was cleared of fraud charges, after claims that he had been involved in an insurance scam.

The court found him not guilty.

The drama was far from over.

The arrest of two women Christine Nyamupandu and Elinet Ben, caused a stir in Harare’s Budiriro suburb after they were caught naked.

The duo “played witches for money”, after they were “employed” by Alfred Mupfumbati to stage-manage the act.

During the course of the year, prominent human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa was also arrested for allegedly defeating the course of justice.

However, Harare magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa cleared her of the charges.

Mtetwa was discharged at the close of the state’s case. 

Charges against Mtetwa arose after she was arrested when she went to assist Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s chief legal adviser, Thabani Mpofu, during a police raid at his Harare home on March 17.

During the raid Felix Matsinde, Mehluli Tshuma and former Harare City councillor Warship Dumba were also arrested.

The four are accused of possessing articles for criminal use, impersonating the police and contravening the Official Secrets Act.

This year, the country also held its harmonised elections on July 31, which saw Zanu PF winning the highly-contested poll.

For a while, election petitions dominated the court roll, with Zanu PF’s arch rivals MDC, claiming the ruling party stole the election.

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