Gumbura slapped with 40 years

Independent End Time Message Church founder, Pastor Robert Martin Gumbura, was today sentenced to an effective 40 year jail term following his conviction last week on four rape counts.

Pastor Robert Martin Gumbura
Pastor Robert Martin Gumbura

Gumbura, 57, who was facing nine counts of raping six female members of his Church, was sentenced to another four months jail term after he was convicted on another count of possession of pornographic material.

Initially, he was slapped with 50 years on the four rape counts but ten years were suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour.

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.

He had however pleaded not guilty to the charges saying he had consensual sex with the women.

Last week, the State, led by Jonathan Murombedzi, prayed for a sentence of at least 25 years on each of the rape counts.

However, in handing down his sentence today, Harare Magistrate, Hosea Mujaya said the Magistrates Court's maximum jurisdiction for rape matters was 20 years.

In passing today's sentence, Mujaya expressed concern over the increase in rape cases in the country saying that teachings in local churches needed to be monitored externally as well as internally.

"You were a real wolf in a sheep's skin and took advantage of the gullible members in your church. The survivors of the rape are obviously going to suffer psychological trauma and they are going to be stigmatised," said Mujaya.

Gumbura is set to stand trial on another rape count on March 31.

Last month, the High Court denied him bail on the case saying that he was facing serious charges and was likely to be convicted.

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