Gumbura gets 40 years

HARARE - Independent End Time Message Church founder Robert Martin Gumbura’s dream of having 100 children crumbled yesterday after he was jailed for 40 years following his conviction on four counts of rape and contravening the Censorship Act.

Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya sentenced the 57-year-old pastor to 15 years in prison on the first two counts of rape, while he got 10 years on the other two counts.

From the total of 50 years, Mujaya suspended 10 years on condition of good behaviour.

A further four months, which are to run concurrently with the 40-year prison term, were added on the charge of possessing pornographic material.

Gumbura, who initially faced nine counts of rape, was acquitted on the other five.

In passing sentence, Mujaya said Gumbura was a “wolf in a sheep skin” who preyed on girls and women to gain sexual favours.

“The core business of church is worshipping, not sleeping with girls or women and threatening them, claiming misfortunes would befall them,” Mujaya said.

“The victims must have been psychologically affected. They are going to suffer trauma and stigmatisation,” the regional magistrate said, adding that steps should be taken to ensure that the survivors receive counselling.

Mujaya said in as far as prosecutor Jonathan Murombedzi urged him to impose a life sentence or at least 25 years for each count, his jurisdictional powers did not permit him to effect such a punishment.

He said the legislature only allowed him to impose a maximum sentence of 20 years for each count.

“State must realise that this court’s maximum jurisdiction is 20 years…it’s like sending a boy to do a man’s job,” Mujaya said, adding that Gumbura’s fall from the position of a pastor to a prisoner should be regarded as a form of punishment. 

He said there is need for churches to be monitored internally and externally to avoid such sexual abuses.
Mujaya, however, said the State did not give enough evidence pertaining to Gumbura’s HIV status, following an order he gave on December 19 last year, for the pastor to be medically examined.

Mujaya said Gumbura committed a serious offence that warranted a prison term.

Gumbura, who has 11 wives and 30 children, looked dejected as prison officers whisked him away into the holding cells, while some of his wives drove off in a red Toyota Estima.

During mitigation, Gumbura through his lawyer Rekai Maposa, told the court that he had 10 houses, $20 000 in offshore account and 12 cars.

He maintained his innocence, claiming he was a victim of church politics.

The witnesses insisted that they were raped. They told the court that they failed to report the matter to the police on time because they feared to be placed in the “hands of Satan”.

Murombedzi told the court that Gumbura committed a serious offence, which humiliated and degraded the victims’ right to privacy.

“Accused person’s moral blameworthiness is very high. He preyed on the flock that he was supposed to shepherd. He took his congregants as sex objects,” Murombedzi said.

He said Gumbura took advantage of the underprivileged orphans, pretending to be a “Good Samaritan”, adding that the pastor was selfish.

Murombedzi said Gumbura took church women as his personal property, after claims that all church women belonged to him and would “loan” them to other men.

Meanwhile, Gumbura is still to stand another rape trial, following claims filed by a South Africa-based woman.

The woman failed to appear in court on December 9 last year, when trial involving the other women kicked off at the Harare Magistrates’ Court.

While trial in the matter is set to begin on March 31, High Court Judge Esther Muremba has since dismissed Gumbura’s bail appeal.

Comments (1)

Independent End THIGH MASSAGE church? Do I need testicles to read this message

Zuze - 5 February 2014

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