HARARE – A self-proclaimed prophet has been jailed for 50 years after being found guilty of raping a congregant on four different occasions on the pretext that she will be spiritually-attacked if she failed to comply.
Admire Maurukira, 29, of Five Fold Ministries was convicted on four counts of rape in a case that went unreported for nearly a year after persistent threats from the assailant.
Harare regional magistrate Hoseah Mujaya handed down the sentence yesterday with each of the four counts carrying a 12-year jail term, in a ruling the magistrate considered would serve as a deterrent to would-be offenders.
Mujaya initially sentenced Maurikira to 60 years behind bars before setting aside 10 years on condition of good behavior in the next five years.
Maurukira’s case was only brought to light after the complainant fell pregnant with the pastor advising her to abort fearing the rape case would destroy his fledgling church, but she refused.
The complainant recently gave birth to Maurukira’s baby. Ironically, the 29-year-old is also married under the Marriages Act Chapter 5:11 and has two children with his wife.
In mitigation, Maurikira’s defence counsel had implored the court to exercise its powers judiciously and temper justice with mercy.
It added that the 29-year-old pastor, being a family man, was also willing to take in the complainant as his second wife along with the newly-born baby.
He was also willing to annul his legally-recognised marriage to his first wife to accommodate the complainant as his second wife, a proposal which Mujaya found insincere.
In aggravation prosecutor Timothy Makoni had urged the court to impose a maximum of 10 years in prison per each count.
Makoni said it was disheartening that similar cases were on the rise and pastors were twisting scriptures to rape their congregants.
He further said the complainant in Maurukira’s case was a “low hanging fruit” which he took advantage of because of his high-standing position in the church.
It was established that on the first count Maurukira committed the offence with the help of a fellow pastor, Kudakwashe Rwodzi.
After having successfully “healed” the complainant he advised her that she now needed anointing oil to ensure that the evil spirits do not return.
He lured her to a house in Chitungwiza where Rwodzi then locked the door from outside, resulting in Maurukira instructing the complainant to comply as he was going to end her spiritual problems.
After committing the offence, Maurukira told her not to reveal the ordeal to anyone, before Rwodzi came back to unlock the door.
It was further established that in December last year, Maurukira called the woman and asked to meet her in town.
The woman’s father had just passed away and Maurukira claimed he wanted to console her.
However, upon meeting her, Maurukira drove the complainant to Crinet Lodge, where he lured her into a room before raping her again.
She was given another bottle of anointing oil and warned not to divulge the ordeal to anyone lest her spiritual attacks would return.
Using the same modus operandi Maurukira raped the woman again thrice in January this year.
In April this year, after realising that the complainant had fallen pregnant, Maurukira asked her to terminate the pregnancy but she refused. The complainant’s aunt tried to engage Maurukira over the issue but he gave her a cold shoulder, which resulted in the matter being reported to the police, leading to the clergyman’s subsequent arrest.