Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
RGM Independent End Time Message Church leader Martin Gumbura allegedly had minors from his church work at his farm in Chinhoyi, where he also forced the most beautiful girls to have sex with him in exchange for school fees. Testifying in the ongoing trial in which Gumbura is accused of raping seven women from his church, one of the victims, a 29-year-old woman who was aged 17 then, said while they were on their way to Chinhoyi from Gweru, she was ordered to remain behind at the pastor’s house in Kadoma.
The woman said she had just finished writing her Ordinary Level exams and needed money to proceed to Advanced Level.
She told the court that when she got to the house, there were two other girls from the church whom Gumbura was accommodating.
Gumbura would always peep through the door while they were bathing or getting dressed in their bedrooms, she alleged.
“Pastor Gumbura forced me to abandon my family on the basis that they were not pure before God since they were not members of his church. I was told to go and stay with some other church members in Gweru.
“Along the way to Chinhoyi, he ordered me to remain behind at one of his wives’ houses in Kadoma.
“He said to me: ‘imi vahanzvadzi hamusikuenda kuChinhoyi muchazoenda henyu’ (sister, you are not going to Chinhoyi, you will follow later),” she testified.
The woman said she asked to go back to her parents to enable her to pursue her education since she had passed O-Level, but Gumbura would not allow her.
She said Gumbura told her that civilisation and education were for the devil, hence her idea of going back to school was not permissible.
“I could not run away from him due to his death threats,” she said.
“He would always remind me of how he cast spells on those who disobeyed him. He said some of those who ran away from him were already dead, while some became mentally challenged.
“I recall one day when I was alone at home, the accused came back at around 7pm and demanded that I sleep with him.
“He pushed me against the wall intending to rape me, but fortunately I managed to free myself.
“He was also in the habit of hugging me and in the process fondling my breasts and back.
“He would also lift my skirts together with those of the other ‘sisters’, saying that he wanted to see if we had beautiful legs.
“One day while we were seated in the kitchen together with him, I told his wife all what he was doing to us, but in response he said there was nothing wrong with a ‘father’ watching his children while they bathed.”
As the trial progressed with Harare area public prosecutor Mr Jonathan Murombedzi leading questions, the woman said Gumbura, would take her from one house to the other and from one town to another while pestering her for sex.
The woman told the court that she managed to apply at Chitungwiza Central Hospital for a nursing course and was later invited for an interview.
“When I got to Harare, his second wife Queen Bunga welcomed me and took me to their house and upon arrival I went straight to the bathroom to take a bath,” she said.
“The accused suddenly opened the bathroom door and entered while holding his mobile phone which he used to take photographs of my naked body.
“I pleaded with him to leave the room but he said: ‘Wavinga shumba mumba mayo, nhasi haupunyuke” (You have come into the lion’s den, today I will not let you go).”
The woman’s evidence had to be cut short because of time, and she will continue testifying today before Regional Magistrate Mr Hoseah Mujaya.