HARARE - Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) has summoned incarcerated Robert Martin Gumbura’s church, Independent End Time Message, to review whether to ban the church or allow it to carry its services.
Johannes Ndanga, ACCZ president, who suspended the church from carrying out services using a directive given by the Cabinet to regulate churches told the Daily News on Sunday that he has summoned the church.
“I have called for the leaders of Gumbura’s church. Now that the law has taken its course it’s appropriate that we see what we do with the church. Do we ban it for good or do we allow it to continue without Gumbura’s doctrine,” Ndanga said.
“Surely, we cannot allow that church to continue with acts of satanism. So l have summoned them so that they come and we discuss their fate. It is our duty to make sure that no-one is abused at church,” Ndanga added.
The ACCZ president said he was aware that the church was carrying out services under the cover of darkness.
“I understand that members of Gumbura’s church are carrying out services at their homes. This is wrong because we suspended the church. So they must come and explain to us why they are carrying out services under the cover of darkness,” he said.
Gumbura was last week 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 for sexual favours.
“The core business of church is worshiping, 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.
However, Gumbura has since appealed to the High Court arguing that the magistrate erred in his judgment.