RMG Independent End Time Message Church founder Robert Martin Gumbura, who is facing charges of raping six female members yesterday said he wanted to have 100 children with different women.
BY PHILLIP CHIDAVAENZI
Gumbura, who took to the witness stand, also claimed the charges were part of a well–calculated plot by his rivals to collapse his ministry and destroy his family.
He told presiding magistrate Hosea Mujaya that former members of his church – Innocent Nehowa and Shepherd Madzingira – teamed up with Spoken Word Ministries’ leader Godwin Chitsinde to stage-manage the rape allegations and paint him as a “monster”.
With his lawyer Revai Maphosa leading evidence after the defence opened its case Gumbura said he was in love with all the six complainants who now wanted to fix him after the affairs failed to coalesce into marriages.
He said the first complainant was bitter because he rebuked her and her “proud” husband during a church service after they ill-treated the husband’s first wife.
Gumbura disputed claims that he arm-twisted the woman before she was married into having two abortions after allegedly raping her.
“I don’t even know that she aborted. I have 30 children and if I had known about the pregnancies, I wouldn’t have asked her to abort because I want 100 children,” he said.
Gumbura denied allegations of instilling fear into his congregants whom he said were free to leave his church whenever they wanted and he could see some of them in the gallery.
He said the complainants would never have stayed with him for as many as 10 years if he was indeed evil, adding that his Marlborough house, where some of the abuse allegedly happened, “was always crawling with people like ants”.
One of the complainants’ sister Gumbura said, accused him falsely because she had a vendetta against him after their marriage fell apart.
“Linda wanted attention so much. She never saw eye to eye with my seventh wife, Amanda. You can’t share Linda (sic). She didn’t want me to have time with the others. She wasn’t material for polygamy so we had a fall out,” he said.
Gumbura denied ever practicing a doctrine of total separation, but said he encouraged church members to look after their relatives.
He dismissed another complainant’s story that he would take all her salary and give her $10 every week while she was working as a laboratory technician at Chinhoyi Hospital.
“She was earning $150, which is not even enough for my breakfast. She was the one who volunteered to come to me every weekend so that she could get pregnant. She complained that sex once a week was not enough,” he said, adding that he only paid lobola for any of his wives when she had conceived.