Gumbura's fresh rape trial opens

HARARE - Jailed Independent End Time Message founder Robert Martin Gumbura has said the 26-year-old woman pressing fresh rape charges against him is his ex-concubine trying to settle scores with him, a magistrate heard yesterday.

Gumbura, currently serving a 40-year jail term for five other rape counts, is jointly charged  with his secretary Tendai Ganyani in the fresh charge.

Through his advocate Thembinkosi Magwaliba, Gumbura denied the rape charge saying he was falsely accused.

He said the woman was being persuaded to press the charges by her ex-boyfriend who is also a congregant of Godwin Chitsinde’s church — Gumbura’s rival.

“Accused person was falsely implicated for various political and moral reasons,” Advocate Magwaliba said. “His case has attracted the attention of various politicians and organisations.

“The complainant lived at his house as a concubine and had consensual sexual intercourse with accused person. She is bitter that accused person ended the relationship with her when he realised she was having an affair because he feared complainant would expose him and his wives (Gumbura had 11 wives) to HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.”

Prosecutor Kudzai Chigwedere said Gumbura took advantage of the woman, who had been left in his care by her parents.

She said the woman reported the matter to the police in March last year after realising that Gumbura’s threats to commit her to Satan were “bottled smoke or hot air”.

Chigwedere urged the courts to record the woman’s evidence in camera and said  she “was  a vulnerable former member of Gumbura’s church who was not comfortable with narrating her ordeal in a packed court.”

Magistrate Fadzai Mtombeni okayed the application to hear the case in camera.

According to State papers, Gumbura started staying with the woman at his house in 2009 after forging an agreement with her parents.

It is alleged that the 57-year-old pastor literally adopted the woman as his child and was responsible for her school fees and general upkeep.

The court heard that in 2009, the woman was summoned by Ganyani to Gumbura’s office.

Upon arrival, Ganyani went out and locked the door from outside, leaving her in Gumbura’s company.

Gumbura allegedly raped the woman, before threatening to curse her if ever she reported the matter.

After the incident, the court heard that Gumbura phoned Ganyani to return to the office and unlock the door.

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