HARARE – Robert Gumbura, losing Zanu PF primary elections canditate for Mabvuku-Tafara and RMG Independent End Time Message leader, who sparked outrage for sexually abusing his flock and dabbling in pornography, has been defrocked and his church suspended by an Administrative Court.
Gumbura has been suspended by the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) for practising “Satanism”.
Archbishop Johannes Ndanga, president of ACCZ, told a press briefing on Tuesday evening that they have agreed to suspend RMG Independent End Time Message Church for a huddle of devilish practices.
RMG Independent End Time Message Church is headquartered in Gweru and it has branches in Harare, Kwekwe, Chinhoyi and in the United Kingdom.
Gumbura, who squared off with Goodwills Masimirembwa in Zanu PF primary polls for Mabvuku-Tafara and lost, is currently languishing in remand prison on charges of rape and illegal possession of pornographic material. He was remanded in custody to December 2 by Harare magistrate Donald Ndirowei.
Archbishop Ndanga said he was using powers vested in him by the government through a Cabinet directive to regulate churches, pending the enactment of a law to deal with errant churches like RMG Independent End Time Message Church
An Administrative Court sat on Tuesday morning at the Victim Friendly Court at the Morris Depot, before making a resolution to stop operations of the RMG church, named after its founder.
A special committee of lawyers, cops and bishops made up the Administrative Court, and included Cladiuos Nhemwa, Busani Sibanda, Takawira Mugabe, Elison Munyaka, Joseph Pagan, Samule Masvokweni and Ladwell Matanhike.
The police and Gumbura’s victims tendered overwhelming evidence against him.
“I have suspended the operations of the church to allow for further investigations before we take a substantive action against the church,” Archbishop Ndanga said, flanked with pastors from different churches.
“There is overwhelming evidence with regards to alleged rape, sexual abuses and harassment against women and the girl child. There is clear evidence of acts of Satanism. There is evidence of drug abuse. There is evidence of institutionalised kidnapping. There is clear evidence of participation of the whole church leadership either willing or by coercion.”
Ndanga said the court reviewed videos of Gumbura having sex orgies with groups of seven or eight women.
Amongst the evidence tendered before the Administrative Court was a suitcase full of sex-enhancing pills and pornographic videos.
“Gumbura made women watch pornography and then have sex with them in groups of about seven or eight,” Archbishop Ndanga said.
“We watched one of his video where he was having sex with one woman and then asked another woman in the room to suck his man hood while he came. Thereafter, he had sex with another woman.”
Gumbura owned a number of properties and farms in the countryside where he kept girl children, street kids and orphans whom he used as sex slaves, the Archbishop said.
“We had to suspend the operations of the church because some church members believe in the doctrine of Gumbura who calls himself ‘God’. Other women were afraid of being committed into the hands of the devil by ‘God’,” Ndanga said.
Gumbura claimed to have powers to commit church members to the devil. One church member who was reportedly committed to the devil complained that he lost his job at the National Railways of Zimbabwe and left for the United Kingdom where things did not work out well for him.
Superintendent Moyo, the police investigating officer, said 10 women have so far given evidence against Gambura.
Archbishop Ndanga said pastors from the RMG Independent End Time Message Church need to be investigated because they were involved.
“We understand that some pastors were taking their wives and other church members to Gumbura to have sex with him,” Archbishop Ndanga told reporters. “So we believe that the pastors should also be charged also.”
Ndanga said they watched another video where Gumbura claimed he was ‘God’ and that if he orders church members to eat a donkey, they should do so without questing.
Gumbura, who was said to be rich and politically-connected, was alleged to have collected members’ salaries and used it for his personal benefit.
John, who said he was once a member of the church, said Gumbura confiscated his salary and gave him a woman to marry. John said he later discovered that Gumbura was sleeping with his wife.
When he confronted him, the the self-proclaimed ‘God’ told him that there was nothing he could do as he had also slept with his wife’s mother, aunt and sisters.
Archbishop Ndanga said no one was allowed to enter into RMG church buildings and church members were no longer allowed to congregate anywhere. If they are spotted, they should be reported to the police, the Archbishop said.
He said if the church was running any school, it should cease to operate, saying Satanism would be obtaining there.
Ndanga tasked the Administrative Court to investigate the church further.