A High Court judge has dismissed a fresh freedom bid by jailed pastor, Martin Gumbura, imprisoned for raping church women.
In his ruling which was read out by Justice Garainesu Mawadze, Justice Joseph Musakwa said the “disgraceful” cleric “justified his sexual appetite to force himself on hapless congregates”.
The fresh bid for bail was made by Gumbura’s lawyers Advocate Thembinkosi Magwaliba pending the appeal of both the conviction and sentence.
“Where a person seeks bail pending appeal there is no longer a presumption of innocence as they would have been found guilty,” Musakwa ruled much to the dejection of Gumbura’s wives who attended the hearing.
Gumbura, head of RGM End Time Messages Church, is serving a 40 year jail term after being convicted for five counts of rape and contravening the Censorship and Entertainment Controls Act.
“One can also detect a pattern of predatory behaviour on the part of the applicant. The complainants appear to have been lured and lulled to accept that applicant’s benignity,” the court ruled.
His lawyers are challenging the sentence saying the charges were fabricated by adversaries, naming one pastor Godwin Chitsinde.
But the court dismissed his assertion stating that “the trial court did believe the complainants and indeed one cannot think they made such sordid accounts just to lend support to religious wars waged by Pastor Chitsinde”.
The judge said pastors and priests were the people least expected to commit such crimes.
Gumbura was accused of abusing girls from his church threatening them with “God’s curse” if they reported the abuse to anyone.
The court said “the complainants appear to have been in some kind of bondage. They did not appear to have been free to travel as they liked.
“It is either they would be escorted by a driver or by Queen Bunga (Gumbura’s second wife. Although the escape from Marlborough premises was possible, it was not easy as observed by the trial court.”
Musakwa said threats made by Gumbura to place his victims into the hand of Satan were real as biblical verses were interpreted to them.
“The complainants could have genuinely believed the effect of the curses.”