Pastor solemnises fake marriage

HARARE - A pastor at Kingdom Glory Ministries was yesterday jailed for eight months for impersonating a marriage officer.

Prince Tsoka of Zengeza, Chitungwiza, solemnised the $4 000 marriage of a Warren Park couple.

The pastor was jailed by magistrate, Tendai Mahwe. The 35-year-old was arrogant when the magistrate proposed community service.

He was subsequently jailed for abetting the sham marriage and going through with it.

The pastor had apparently staged several sham wedding ceremonies, demanding money and suits from couples.

When Tsoka was convicted of “unauthorised solemnisation of marriage ceremonies”, the presiding magistrate, asked if he would consider performing community service.

Tsoka responded: “I have already told this court these proceedings were a gross waste of my precious time. I could have done meaningful things with all that time. I don’t have more time to waste performing community service.”

Mahwe subsequently slapped the pastor with a jail term.

“I gave you an option to perform community service but you refused. You were so arrogant and showed no sign of remorse throughout the proceedings,” Mahwe said.

“Your conduct reflected that of a drunkard and even when the video that incriminated you to the offence was played you could be heard chanting ‘sele kuna Jesu’, language that is consistent with revellers and not a pastor like you.”

Prosecutor Fransisca Mukumbiri proved that sometime in September last year, the complainant Simbarashe Kachenautowa got customarily married to Talent Matanhire and planned to have a wedding before they started staying together.

The court heard that the couple engaged their pastor Musa Kamisola to become the marriage officer but he advised them that he was not qualified to wed couples.

Kamisola referred the couple to Tsoka because he had authorised a number of weddings. Tsoka asked the couple to pay $50 purporting it was for marriage certificates.

He claimed the certificates would be processed through the Registrar General (RG)’s office.

He also demanded a suit, which the couple bought before the pastor officiated their wedding at 47 Grosvenor Road in Highlands in Harare on March 28.

During the wedding ceremony, Tsoka announced that the RG’s office had delayed processing the marriage certificates and promised the couple that the documents would be ready by March 20.

A week lapsed and the couple began phoning Tsoka to inquire about their marriage certificates, but the pastor lashed out at them.

They later approached the RG’s office and were told that their marriage was never registered there.

Tsoka was also exposed as a bogus marriage officer that had never registered with the RG’s office.

Kachenautowa was prejudiced of $3 800.

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