By Tendai Kamhungira
HARARE - Judgement in Independent End Time Message founder Robert Martin Gumbura’s rape charges could not be delivered yesterday after Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya asked for an inspection-in-loco of the controversial pastor’s Marlborough mansion.
The inspection revealed Gumbura’s flamboyant lifestyle, showing some modest glamour amid filth. Clad in prison garb, he toured his premises, that portray him as a modestly “rich man”. The premises are heavily secured, with a three metre pre-cast wall and a gate that leads into the compound.
Besides his main residence, there are several other cottages dotted around the compound, while a 25-bedroomed one-storey mansion, with four lounges, is still under construction.
A big gazebo close to the gate completes the compound’s structures, while a big hall currently being renovated makes up part of the structures at the premises. Inside his main house is a glitter of accessories, comprising of modern furniture, a jacuzzi, an office, while the floors are either carpeted or tiled.
The yard is littered with cars, while a big generator hummed just close to the entrance. Gumbura is currently on trial, facing multiple rape charges.
Prosecutor Jonathan Murombedzi closed the State’s case on December 20, after leading evidence from 12 witnesses, before Mujaya postponed the matter to yesterday for judgment.
However, Mujaya yesterday said he wanted to first see the place where the alleged sexual abuses took place.
The inspection-in-loco was action-packed, as prison officials whisked Gumbura away from the Harare Magistrates’ Courts to his residence in a white single cab Ford Ranger.
Armed police officers followed in their vehicle.
Scores of people gathered outside the courtroom, waiting to see the man who made headlines during the last quarter of 2013.
The crowd ran out of steam, after they only saw cars speed off from the court’s holding cells, with the “man of the moment”, who boasts of 11 wives and 30 children, ensconced in the truck.
During his trial, Gumbura told the court that he plans to have 100 children.
While at his premises in Harare’s Marlborough suburb, Gumbura looked unmoved.
“Surely gentlemen, you should have waited for me to put on a suit,” Gumbura said, as photographers snapped him.
“Why did you allow them (journalists) to enter? I prefer those from The Herald because the Daily News hates me,” Gumbura chuckled, as he led court officials to the gate.
He maintained that his place was always occupied by many people, making it difficult for him to rape anybody, without raising alarm under the circumstances.
After a tiresome inspection of the premises, Mujaya remanded the matter to today, where two of the police officers who collected information constituting the basis of the rape charges, are to be cross-examined again, before judgment is delivered.
Gumbura is denying the allegations, claiming the women were fabricating stories against him under the influence of Spoken Word Ministries pastor Godwin Chitsinde, a rival.
He believes he is being persecuted and paying the price for being a “Good Samaritan”.
Several accusations have been made, with claims that the pastor was involved in sex orgies and was in possession of pornographic materials.
He reportedly believed in the power of placing church “rebels” in the hands of Satan.
Gumbura, who has been a pastor for the past 35 years, however, told the court that he lived an unblemished life, as he was in love with most of the women that claim he raped them.
He insists he was a victim of church politics.
But, the church women, who alleged they were abused, claim they were heavily indoctrinated and feared to be cast in the hands of Satan, hence their failure to report the criminal acts on time.
Gumbura is represented by Rekai Maposa and Emmanuel Samundombe, while Jonathan Murombedzi and Kudzai Chigwedere appeared for the State. Daily News