Fungai Lupande Court Reporter
A Harare woman now based in South Africa yesterday testified in court how Robert Martin Gumbura, the founder of Independent RMG End Time Message Church molested her 25 years ago until she contemplated suicide. The matter came to light recently after the investigating officer Superintendent Ndabezinhle Moyo found a letter the woman wrote to Gumbura expressing her disgruntlement over the attempted rape, which was among documents recovered at his office.
Gumbura is charged with 10 counts of rape.
The woman yesterday narrated how Gumbura attempted to rape her in his office until he ejaculated on her thighs because of her resistance.
She told the court that Gumbura taught her in Form 1 and Form 2 at Regina Mundi High School in Gweru.
“I joined his church when I was 16 and my former teacher became my shepherd,” said the woman.
“I recall one Sunday in 1988 that after a church service I went to see my pastor (Gumbura) for counselling sessions. He then proposed love to me.
“He asked me to come behind the desk where he was and started caressing and fondling my breasts.”
The court fell into a deafening silence as the woman narrated how Gumbura forcibly laid her on his office table and attempted to rape her.
“When I realised that he was about to have sexual intercourse with me, I covered up my private parts with my hands and he ejaculated on my thighs,” she said.
“He drove me around in his car telling me not to tell anyone about the event because it would destroy his image in church.
“He said he had plans to marry me. By then he had one wife.”
The woman said that on a different occasion she went to Gumbura’s office to inform him about her boyfriend who wanted to marry her as per the church’s doctrine.
“When I got into his office he started fondling and caressing me again,” she said.
“When I realised that I had no one to tell because of the church doctrine which did not allow us to report anything against the pastor, I thought of committing suicide.”
The court heard that Gumbura continued to ask for sexual favours from the woman despite the fact that she was married with three children.
The woman said she later confided in her husband about the sexual abuse, adding that the husband turned a deaf ear and refused to leave Gumbura’s church.
During cross-examination by Gumbura’s lawyer Ms Rekai Maposa, the woman said she did not report the matter to the police because she wanted to forget the painful experience she had gone through.
The trial will continue today before regional magistrate Mr Hoseah Mujaya who is hearing it.
Harare area public prosecutor Mr Jonathan Murombedzi and Mrs Kudzai Chigwedere are appearing for the State.