HARARE – Martin Robert Gumbura, a preacher jailed 50 years for raping four congregants has died in prison.
He was 64.
The Independent End Time Message Church founder, who maintained his innocence and had launched multiple appeals against his conviction and sentence, died on Saturday from Covid-19 related complications, the Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Service (ZPCS) said.
ZPCS spokesman Meya Khanyezi said in a statement: “As ZPCS we would like to inform the nation that one of our longest serving inmates Martin Robert Gumbura has passed on this afternoon at Chikurubi Maximum Prison hospital. He succumbed to Covid-19 complications. The next of kin has been advised.”
Gumbura was jailed in 2014 after a court heard how he preyed on his female congregants, luring them to his properties and raping them.
“You were a real wolf in sheepskin,” magistrate Hoseah Mujaya said as he sentenced him to 50 years in prison, 10 of which were conditionally suspended.
It was claimed in court that he threatened his victims with misfortune if they reported him.
Gumbura, who had a small personal fortune, had 11 wives and 30 children.