A 29–YEAR–OLD woman who claimed to have been routinely raped during the time she stayed under RMG Independent End Time Message Church leader Robert Martin Gumbura’s care for over a decade yesterday said Gumbura bragged that he was untouchable because of his political connections.
REPORT BY PHILLIP CHIDAVAENZI
The woman, who was 16 when she first started staying with Gumbura, told Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya that Gumbura said he had authority over the police. “He said the police officers were under him and that he was politically connected to government officials,” she said, adding that he promised to get her a job in Harare through his Zanu PF links.
The woman said she was “bonded” to the accused who ordered her to surrender all her salary for two years while she was working as a laboratory technician at Chinhoyi Hospital because Gumbura had paid for all her needs when she was still training for the course.
She said when she was a student at Chitungwiza Central Hospital, Gumbura ordered her to come to his Greendale house every weekend to collect $10 for her needs and he would allegedly rape her.
Gumbura, she said, offered to marry her, but she turned him down after which he allegedly asked why she was refusing to marry him when he used church money on her, adding that even government had a policy of “bonding” people it had trained.
She said Gumbura played pornographic videos and instructed her to do to him what the women in the videos would be doing.
She said she could not escape the bondage because she had been a participant in sessions where people had been placed into the hands of the devil.
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The woman named church members who had been crippled in accidents, died or lost their jobs after the cursing.
She, however, said she eventually gained enough courage to flee to her brother in South Africa where for some time she lived in fear that the accused would pursue her.
Spoken Word Ministries’ founder Godwin Chitsinde disputed Gumbura’s claim that he was fighting him and that all the complainants were now members of Chitsinde’s church because only two people were now members of the church.
He said he was too busy to engage in petty battles over congregants with Gumbura because he conducted over 50 baptisms in his 5 000-member strong church every weekend. “Christians are not branded like cattle and can move from one church to another. My ministry does not depend on his because we are not on the same platform. I am not his enemy and I don’t hate him. I feel sorry for him,” Chitsinde said.
Chitsinde said he first heard of the abuse allegations against Gumbura — whom he had baptised in 1978 — in 1988, but did not pursue the matter since he did not have jurisdiction over him.
The trial continues today.