By Thandeka Moyo
BULAWAYO – A Cowdray Park pastor allegedly turned a congregant, 16, into a sex slave and infected her with HIV and genital warts while claiming to be driving out a death demon that wanted to kill her father.
Greatness Tapfuma, 33, the founder of Kingdom Rulers International Church was recently acquitted of raping two other congregants. In the latest case, it is claimed that his emissaries attempted to bribe his victim with a house, a car or cash.
He pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape yesterday before regional magistrate Chrispen Mberewere.
Tapfuma was later arrested together with his three congregants for manhandling a photographer from The Chronicle who had taken pictures of him.
In court, Tapfuma’s victim said she decided to speak out on the abuse after she was treated for genital warts early this year.
“I used to attend his church with my parents and one day he told me that my family was haunted by evil spirits which would kill my father. He called me to his house and when I got there he proposed love to me and I turned him down,” said the girl.
“He then approached my father and asked if I could go to his home for prayers and my father agreed. I went to his house and he immediately said my father was going to die within that week if he didn’t pray for him.”
The girl added: “I started crying and begged him to pray and save my father from death as a prophet who could see the spirit. He then said I was supposed to fall in love with him if I needed any assistance from him in connection with blocking my father’s death”.
According to the girl, Tapfuma moved closer to her after she indicated that she desperately needed his assistance.
“He then started undressing me as I was crying over what he had just told me; that my father could die anytime, that day or even after a week. He then ordered me to lie facing upwards on the carpet, opened my legs and raped me. I tried resisting but he said if I failed to cooperate, my father would die,” she said.
The court also heard that Tapfuma ordered the girl to keep the sexual act a secret as divulging that would provoke the death spirit to kill her father immediately.
“I returned home and didn’t tell anyone as I feared for my father’s death and wanted Tapfuma’s prayers to work. From that day, he started asking to see me thrice a week and would rape me all the times. On a certain day in November, he had sex with me till I started bleeding and wiped my privates suggesting he would keep the towel he used.”
The girl said she started noticing some blisters on her privates and reported the matter to her mother.
“Again I noticed some blisters on my privates and we went to the hospital as they got worse in December. I tested HIV positive. That was when my mother asked how I got infected and I had to tell her what had been happening,” said the girl.
“We made a police report and changed churches and at that time, one of the elders came to me and tried enticing me. He said the church had raised thousands of dollars to give me if only I dropped the rape charges against the pastor. He said they were ready to give me a house or a car as long as I dropped the charges but I refused.”
Tapfuma, through his lawyer Bruce Israel Masamvu from Dube-Tachiona Tsvangirai Law Firm, told the court that the girl had connived with her parents and a rival pastor to fabricate the allegations.
“I’m a pastor who renders deliverance sessions, casting out demons and extricating victims of satanism. I’ve a video which shows this girl confessing that she is a satanist during an all-night prayer I conducted in my church,” said Tapfuma.
The Chronicle is in possession of that video.
Mberewere remanded Tapfuma who is on $300 bail to today when more witnesses are expected to testify.
Robin Mukura, for the State, said in October last year Tapfuma called the girl to his home and raped her in exchange for prayers for her father who was said to be facing death.
“Again on unknown dates but during October and November, Tapfuma raped the girl. The matter came to light when the girl sought medical attention after she noticed blisters on her privates,” said Mukura. The Chronicle