HARARE, Feb 4 – A Zimbabwean pastor was jailed on Monday for 50 years for raping four female congregants and threatening to cast evil spells on them if they exposed him.
Robert Martin Gumbura, the founder of “Robert Martin Gumbura Independent End Time Message Church”, had 10 years of his sentence suspended because he had no previous convictions.
“You were a real wolf in sheepskin,” said magistrate Hoseah Mujaya.
“The core business of any church is worshipping and not sleeping with girls and women and threaten them that misfortune will befall them.”
The rapes are said to have occurred more than a decade ago.
The court heard that Gumbura, 57, claimed that all female members of his church were his wives by right, and married women were on loan from their husbands.
The pastor, who has 11 wives and 30 children, had wanted to sire 100 children.
His conviction included a four-month term for a separate charge of possession of pornographic videos.
In his defence, Gumbura stated the DVDs were private recordings with his wives.
Cases of church leaders abusing women are common in Zimbabwe. Last month a leader of an apostolic sect made news after it was revealed that he had impregnated 13 women in one month.