RMG Independent End Time Message church founder Robert Martin Gumbura’s wives who are facing charges of illegal possession of pornographic materials together with five other women from the church yesterday pleaded not guilty to the charge when the trial opened.
The three women – Choice Neganye (32), Amadeus Mutakwa (32) and Pamela Mukandawire (27) – are being charged together with Runyararo Musvosvi (27), Rutendo Sekai Mandiya (28), Veronica Mbanga (27), Tendai Kwatara (34) and Moreblessing Takawira (35).
The women are accused of contravening the Censorship and Entertainment Control Act (Chapter 10:04) after allegedly photographing themselves in the nude and possessing pornographic videos.
Presenting their defence outline before Harare magistrate Vakayi Douglas Chikwekwe, the women’s lawyer Rekai Maphosa said the charges were false and were part of a scheme by Gumbura’s enemies to destroy his family.
She said the police arrested the women after they had denied that the pictures at the centre of the case were taken by Gumbura.
“It’s part of a plan to ensure that Gumbura goes to prison and to nail the entire family so that the homestead is closed forever,” she said.
She said the pictures upon which the State based its case did not even show the faces of Neganje, Mandiya, Musvosvi, Mbanga, Kwatara and Takawira. She added that the pictures were produced for personal consumption.
The investigating officer Inspector Tichavengwa Robson Sengwe of the Victim Friendly Unit yesterday admitted that he could not identify the women in the pictures with the exception of three whom he identified as Neganje, Takawira and Mandiya after he was pressed by prosecutor Michael Reza.
He told the court that the pictures were recovered from a drawer in Gumbura’s secretary Tendai Ganyani’s office. Ganyani is also being jointly charged with Gumbura on a separate matter over the possession of pornographic material.
Sengwe said Ganyani assisted the police in the identification of the women whose faces were not visible on the pictures.
Maphosa, however, insisted that the investigating officer received the incriminating information from former members of Gumbura’s church, Grace Musharu and Brenda Mukandawire as well as one Shepherd Madzingira.
Maphosa argued that it did not make sense the police never interviewed Gumbura’s wives over the charges but only relied on information from Ganyani. The trial continues today.