Harare, January 31, 2014 – Independent End Time Message Church founder, Robert Martin Gumbura, was today convicted on four rape counts and faces up to 100 years in jail after the State, led by Jonathan Murombedzi, prayed for a sentence of 25 years and above on each count.
Gumbura was convicted of another count of possession of pornographic material. Harare Magistrate, Hosea Mujaya, is expected to deliver Gumbura’s sentence on Monday.
Gumbura, who was arrested in October last year, was being charged with nine rape counts after he allegedly raped six female congregates of his church.
He had pleaded not guilty to the charges saying that he had consensual sex with the women.
He further submitted that the charges against him were a result of the works of his adversaries, citing Spoken Word Ministries founder, Godwin Chitsinde. However, Chitsinde denied the allegations in court.
It is the State’s case that Gumbura would force the women to have sex with him and would subject them to spiritual fear if they turned down his requests.
Following Gumbura’s conviction today, the defence counsel, led by Rekayi Maphosa, in its mitigation said that the Pastor was a family man with 11 wives and 30 children and looks after some orphans as well.
The defence counsel further submitted that some of the rape victims depended on Gumbura as well for their survival. On the issue of possession of pornographic material, the defence counsel appealed to the court for a fine of which Gumbura offered $5, 000.
However, Murombedzi argued that the defence counsel’s mitigation was outweighed by the aggravating circumstances
“The accused has been found guilty of very serious charges. He took his congregation as sex objects and also took advantage of those who were underprivileged in the guise of trying to help them. He regarded himself as a God and behaved like one.
“We are praying that on each of the four counts, the court should give a sentence of 25 years and above,” said Murombedzi.
On the count of possession of pornographic material, he said Gumbura should be slapped with a maximum of a one year jail term.
Murombedzi argued that Gumbura kept the pornographic material for the purpose of committing rape offences and therefore, a fine was inappropriate.