Imprisoned rapist and RMG End Time Message founder Robert Martin Gumbura’s appeal against both conviction and a 40-year effective jail term for raping his female congregants is set to be heard today at the High Court before Justices Felistus Chatukuta and David Mangota.

Gumbura was in March last year slapped with a 50-year jail term by Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya who convicted him on four counts of rape and a count of possessing pornographic material, but suspended 10 years on condition of good behaviour.

Gumbura made several applications for bail pending appeal, but all were dismissed by the courts on the basis that he was not a suitable candidate for bail, but rather a flight risk.

His last effort to be released on bail was dented by Supreme Court judge Justice Bharat Patel who ruled that the appeal “was doomed to failure”.

“To sum up, it must be accepted that there were certain deficiencies in the State case. Nevertheless, I take the view that none of the grounds of appeal in this case is entirely sustainable . . . I am satisfied that the appellant (Gumbura) has no prospects of success on appeal and that his appeal is doomed to failure,” Justice Patel said.

Gumbura’s appeal comes a week after MDC-T deputy national chairman Morgan Komichi’s appeal against both conviction and sentence over allegations of fraud and contravening the Electoral Act was also head by the High Court.

Judgment in the matter was reserved.

Komichi was two years ago sentenced to a wholly-suspended 18-month jail term by Harare provincial magistrate Tendai Mahwe who suspended eight months on condition he would not commit a similar offence in the next five years.

The remainder of the sentence was suspended on condition Komichi was to perform 350 hours of community service at Mabelreign Clinic in Harare.

The MDC-T deputy national chairman was arrested two days before the general elections in July 2013 after handing over a ballot paper, which he claimed had picked in a bin, to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

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