Gumbura's fresh rape trial dropped

HARARE - Jailed Independent End Time Message founder Robert Martin Gumbura’s fresh rape charge has been dropped.

Had he been convicted, his current 40-year jail term — imposed in 2013 over four counts of rape — could have been lengthened. He was removed from remand on the fresh rape charge yesterday that emerged following his conviction.

Following his incarceration, a South Africa-based woman filed a fresh rape charge, claiming that she had also been sexually violated during her stay at the cleric’s house.

His lawyer Tapson Dzvetero later filed for discharge at the close of the State’s case but the application was dismissed, prompting the defence attorney to engage the High Court for review of proceedings.

However, for two years, the registrar of the High Court had not set down the matter for hearing and Harare regional magistrate Elijah Makomo subsequently removed Gumbura from remand on the rape charge.

Makomo ruled that the State would not suffer any prejudice, if Gumbura was removed from remand.

The State will have to proceed by way of summons when the case is ready.

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 Tendai 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. 

The rapist clergyman also faces a further charge of attempting to escape from lawful custody, incitement in aggravating circumstances in relation to malicious damage to property and incitement to assault or resisting a peace officer.

Gumbura is alleged to be the mastermind of food riots that rocked Chikurubi Maximum Prison last year.

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