HARARE - Most people have rooted their faith in “men of God” with the belief that they possess supernatural powers and are closer to God.
Some believe they possess the ability to solve all of their problems.
Women flock to churches in larger numbers than men. And consequently, they have often fallen prey to philandering “pastors”.
The local media has described such unscrupulous men of God as “rape pastors.”
Several such cases have been brought into the limelight.
And apparently, the offenders do not just abuse women and girls, they have also desecrated the places of worship by engaging in sexual activities on Holy ground.
Most of the incidents occur in the church’s back offices.
Abundant Life Global Ministries (ALGM) pastor Danmore Magorimbo is facing charges of allegedly raping a female congregant after telling her that his sperm could expel demons planted by her husband.
Magorimbo allegedly took advantage of the woman, who cannot be named for ethical reasons, flattering the hapless woman by saying she was “highly-favoured like Mary, the mother of Jesus.”
The incident is said to have occurred at the church’s premises at 1 Hampden Road in Belvedere, Harare.
Magorimbo approached the woman who was in the prayer room and invited her to his office after telling her he was going to drive away the evil spirits planted by her husband during intercourse, said the State.
He reportedly received the help of his head intercessor, Leeshalow Kambiro 27, who is the co-accused in this case, the court heard.
Magorimbo repeated the act again the following day.
Another pastor with Light of the World Ministries Terrence Tenesi, 27, was dragged to court after he allegedly forced himself on an 18-year-old congregant during a prayer session.
In his defence, Tenesi — who spent nights at the woman’s residence following invitations by the parents to pray for the lady — said the complainant fabricated the allegations because their relationship had failed to meet her expectations.
State prosecutor Liberty Gono led evidence from the woman’s father who confirmed that he invited Tenesi to drive demons out of his daughter.
The father said he was introduced to Tenesi by his wife who had met the pastor at some mountain in Harare where he conducted prayers.
He also testified that he believed his daughter was secure with Tenesi since he was “a man of God.”
The prosecutor general Johannes Tomana believes women must be educated so that they don’t fall victim to such offenders.
“The issue is not about how many years a person convicted of rape charges is sent to jail,” Tomana said.
“He would have already left a scar on the victim which will affect her for the rest of their lives.
“No matter how long prison time is, if women continue to expose themselves to such perpetrators then this issue will never be solved.
“Women need to be educated to avoid such incidents.”
Independent End Time Message Church founder Robert Martin Gumbura’s dream of having 100 children was cut short 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.