Sheillah Mapani Herald Reporter
By Grace Ministries founder Onbert Mapfumo, who was arrested for raping two female congregants, has been jailed effective 22 years. Mapfumo (39) of Southlea Park in Harare raped the two women at his prayer room in New Canaan, Highfield, Harare.
He was slapped with 14 years for each count, making it a total of 28 years in prison, but six years were suspended on condition of good behaviour. In passing sentence, Harare magistrate Mr Hosea Mujaya noted that Mapfumo’s moral blameworthiness was high.
He said Mapfumo presented himself to the church members as if he was next to God. “You have managed to heal the second complainant who was HIV positive such that when she was re-tested she became negative,” said Mr Mujaya.
“This convinced the unsuspecting congregants that you were a true man of God due to these intense powers you were showing. “One is bound to believe in your every word after witnessing these miracles.”
Mr Mujaya noted that Mapfumo scared his victims by claiming he was a Criminal Investigations Department detective and this discouraged the women to act against him.
In mitigation, Mapfumo said he was a family man and begged the court to treat the counts as one. Prosecuting, Mr George Manokore proved that on various occasions, Mapfumo summoned the female congregants to his prayer room.
He summoned the complainants one by one and prayed for them. Mapfumo explained to each one of them that his sacrificial prayers required that he be intimate with them.
He stripped the women and sprinkled them with cooking oil before forcing himself on them.