A SOUTH AFRICA–BASED Zimbabwean woman yesterday became the third witness to testify in the case being heard at the Harare Magistrates Courts where RMG End Time Message Church leader, Robert Martin Gumbura (57), is on trial for allegedly raping nine members of his congregation.
The woman (45), whose identity cannot be published because of the nature of the case, told the court how the man of the cloth had sexually assaulted her, attempted to rape her and continued to make sexual overtures towards her even after she got married.
Led by prosecutor Jonathan Murombedzi, the woman told trial magistrate Hosea Mujaya that she joined the church at 16, but first met Gumbura three years later after she had visited his Gweru offices for counselling.
She recalled an incident where Gumbura proposed love to her during a counselling session and subsequently fondled and kissed her. She said he wrestled and tripped her to the ground and attempted to rape her.
He allegedly failed in his bid after she closed her private parts with her hands, and the pastor, who was apparently too sexually aroused, ended up ejaculating on her legs.
After failing to rape her, she said, Gumbura assured her not to be troubled because he was going to marry her.
She alleged that the pastor, who had one wife at the time, told her of his plans to introduce polygamy in the church.
The witness said after her experience, she contemplated suicide, but was discouraged by her boyfriend who later became her husband.
She said when her husband fell sick, she called Gumbura who allegedly told her he still had strong feelings for her. She said after her husband’s recovery, she told him about Gumbura’s sexual advances towards her. Her husband told her not to expose the pastor because he was a “man of God”.
She said Gumbura often rebuked her husband during services, accusing him of marrying the woman that he wanted.
She said the accused continued to pester her, inviting her to come to him if she had any problems, including financial needs. She said she resolved to leave the church and wrote a letter to Gumbura telling him about her displeasure at his conduct.
When her husband fell sick again and eventually passed away, she left the church and relocated to Johannesburg in 2007.
She said she did not report the abuses after leaving the church because she wanted her experiences with Gumbura to be “a closed chapter”, and would never have made a police report had the investigating officer, Superintendent Ndabezinhle Moyo, not tracked her down.
Defence counsel Rekai Maphosa, however, accused the witness of lying, saying she was “colluding” with the other witnesses to nail Gumbura. She accused her of “acting in consent with the police to destroy the accused”.
Gumbura is currently in custody after the court revoked his $500 bail.
Three other alleged rape victims are lined up to testify in the matter, but are expected to give evidence in camera after the court agreed with the State that they were vulnerable.