1 March 2014

Zimbabwe: Gumbura Refused Bail Pending Appeal

Photo: Nehanda Radio
Martin Gumbura.

JAILED RMG Independent End Time Message Church leader, Robert Martin Gumbura has been denied bail pending appeal by a Harare magistrate.

Hosea Mujaya, the magistrate who convicted the church leader and sentenced him to 50-years in jail before suspending 10 on conditions, ruled that his court had no jurisdiction to deal with the bail application as the charges faced by Gumbura were serious.

"Rape is a third schedule offence and that means this court does not have the jurisdiction to grant the accused bail he has applied for," ruled Mujaya.

Gumbura was convicted after a full trial for four counts of rape and one of possessing pornographic material.

Initially, the clergyman faced nine counts of rape, but five were dismissed owing to lack of evidence.

Through his lawyer, Rekayi Maphosa the Zanu PF aspiring parliamentarian who failed to win against Godwills Masimirembwa in the Mabvuku-Tafara primary elections applied for bail pending appeal at the High Court arguing that his client's sentence was too harsh and that the rape charges were fabricated. State prosecutor, Jonathan Murombedzi was challenging Gumbura's bail application, saying that he was a flight risk and his 40 year jail sentence was too lenient.

The state said that Gumbura should have been given a life sentence as the crime he had committed was serious. Handing down the sentence last month, magistrate Majaya described the pastor as "wolf in sheep's skin".

"The court must always strive to find a punishment which will fit both the crime and the offender," said Mujaya.

"The core-business of the church is to worship God, not to sleep with girls and women and threatening them that misfortune would befall them.

"Pastors and deacons in this church must have been aware of the blasphemous teachings in their church and the abuse of women, but they chose to ignore what was happening. Teachings in church must be monitored internally and externally."

Copyright © 2014 New Zimbabwe. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.