Tomorrow Robert Martin Gumbura, leader of the RGM Independent End Time Message church, will know his fate after being convicted of four counts of rape.
The Standard Editorial
Whether it will be a life sentence or 100 years as requested by the state, Gumbura’s incarceration will be welcomed not only by his victims, but by the nation at large, outraged by how he abused the Bible and the pulpit to indoctrinate female members of his congregation before raping them.
His victims, who gave emotional testimonies in court about how the preacher forced himself on them behind the high steel gates at his compound in Marlborough, will derive comfort from the fact that the rapist masquerading as a preacher, will be jailed.
The public trial and conviction of the sex-crazed monster will also be remembered for bringing into the spotlight the abuse of innocent women that is prevalent in many upstart churches that are sprouting everywhere.
Instead of being good shepherds, pastors have turned into wolves and are using women as sex objects. Gumbura, a sex maniac, had sexual intercourse with as many women as he pleased in his quest to achieve his strange goal of having 100 children.
He trashed the feelings of those he took to his bed without their consent. As the state successfully proved in court, Gumbura, a mere mortal, regarded himself as God with the power to curse or “commit to the hands of satan” those who refused to do as he commanded.
The fear-mongering pastor had created a cult with a weird doctrine that allowed him to own all the females who attended his church, including married women.
He would choose partners for his female folk, but reserved the right to “recall” them anytime he wanted to have sex with them, just as he could “loan” them out to their husbands. In this modern world, such kind of behaviour is sickening and society is better off without people like Gumbura.
We welcome Gumbura’s conviction which serves as a warning to all sexual perverts out there who are abusing women and children hiding behind the clock of religion. Clearly, their days are numbered.
Anxiety over Gumbura judgement
Robert Gumbura’s trial goes down in history as one of the most fascinating of all times and as anticipated, the D-Day lived up to expectation — a conviction.
Scores of people turned up for the judgment on Friday but many were turned away by court officials because the court room was too small to accommodate all of them.
Inside the packed courtroom the tension was palpable as people waited for the magistrate to come and deliver the long-awaited judgement. A visibly worried Gumbura stood forlorn in the dock with both arms crossed over his chest. For the duration of the ruling, which lasted over three hours, the man who raped his congregants and terrorised people in his church looked no more than a naughty little boy waiting to be canned by the boarding master.
The power that he is alleged to have yielded over his subjects was a far cry from the pathetic picture he painted as he shifted from one foot to the other as Majaya read out his ruling. He occasionally glanced at his wives who sat in the front row, seemingly looking for a place to hide.
Soon after Majaya delivered the verdict, Gumbura dropped his shoulders for the briefest moment and stared unblinking at the space in front of him, seemingly, lost in thought.
While he did not outwardly exhibit any reaction to his guilty verdict, the clenched jaws and the sudden tightening of his arms around his chest, gave away the shock of being convicted.
His wives glanced nervously at each other and one or two sighed heavily. The prospect of their breadwinner going to jail for many years considering that he was convicted of four counts of rape was daunting enough.
The brood, which had always enjoyed quite a comfortable life judging from the expensive furniture which adorns every room at Gumbura’s mansion in Marlborough, is likely to make some adjustments in their lifestyles.
None of the relatives wanted to speak to the media after the judgement as they all rushed into their vehicles. The wives gathered in their car and for close to 30 minutes remained inside. On being approached for comment on the ruling, they did not mince their words saying they were not interested in speaking to the press.
“Is there anything to comment on? The judge said what he had to say, so what more do you want from us. You were there in court and heard everything so do not ask us to comment,” said one of the women.
Gumbura faces life imprisonment or if the court grants the wishes of the state, 100 years.
LIFE SENTENCE IS MOST APPROPRIATE: MAJOME
National Assembly member for Harare West, Jessie Majome, who has been keenly following the trial, said justice had been served and that it could mark the beginning of other successful trials of this nature.
“Wheels of justice have been turned, this is what we are fighting for,” she said.
She was however disappointed that Gumbura got off on the other counts.
“I think the state should gear up on gathering of evidence as this is key in convicting criminals in cases of rape. We feel a bit let down by that and I will continue to push in my motion that this important part of building evidence is tightened,” she said.
Majome said she was hoping Gumbura would get the life sentence.
“He should get a life sentence and not the lesser one. This would really go a long way in sending a strong message out there,” she said.