The wives of incarcerated RTG Independent End Time Message Church founder Robert Martin Gumbura yesterday vowed to stand by their husband, dismissing the rape allegations levelled against him as a ‘farce’.
The women made the unsolicited remarks outside the Harare Magistrates’ Court Building after attending a court session where four of Gumbura’s wives are being charged alongside four other female church members with possession of pornographic material.
The women, led by the most senior of Pastor Gumbura’s 11 wives, Queen Bunga, admitted the pornographic material (pictures of some of the wives taken in the nude) were recovered at their Marlborough family home.
Bunga said there was nothing wrong about the nude pictures of her colleagues since they were secured in a place where no other person had access to except themselves and their husband.
The nude pictures, she said, were taken for the purpose of testing a new printer that Gumbura had just bought.
“These are our personal pictures captured at the time when we were testing our new printing machine. We were photographing one another in the nude and having fun among ourselves, but they were not meant for publication,” the wives’ spokesperson, Bunga, said.
Gumbura’s wives attracted public attention outside the courthouse by their loud proclamation of unity among them as the pastor’s wives. They invited journalists to take pictures of them and write their side of the story, accusing the media of being biased against their husband.
Gumbura has 30 children with his 11 wives.
“We do not want biased coverage of what is happening to us and our husband ‘the Man of God’,” said Gumbura’s second wife Bunga with the other six who were also at the court agreeing with her.
“I am the vice-president (second wife) in our family and I speak on behalf of my husband’s other wives in the absence of his first wife who has already left (the courts).
“We want the country to know that we are a united family which lives large, as you can see. Each and every one of us owns a house and a car. It is for this reason that some former members of our church are jealous and have decided to blackmail our husband and our family.”
Bunga said Gumbura’s “empire” had attracted a lot of enemies especially one Christian church in Belvedere which she claimed was instrumental in influencing Gumbura’s former flock to concoct rape allegations against the pastor.
“We are being portrayed as ‘Satanists’, but we are not. We are Christians and we believe in Jesus Christ and our church has its own doctrine just like any other church in this country,” Bunga said.
She further said given an opportunity, she would form a polygamy association to champion the cause of all women living in polygamous marriages.
Gumbura’s fifth wife, Choice Neganye, chipped in saying she was not surprised by what was happening since her twin sister (now married and living in South Africa) was not happy with the idea that she (Neganye) had married a polygamous man. She claimed her sister had tried all the tricks in the book to cause her marriage to Gumbura to fail.
“I know that my twin sister and her husband are also part to the grand plan to destroy our family and husband,” Neganye said. Another of Gumbura’s wives, Amadeus Mutakwa, a mother of six, said: “We are not being abused by the pastor at all, and we will never be.
He is such a loving husband and we all love him. There are few men who know how to love their wives in the manner that the pastor does.”
A youthful female church member who was with Gumbura’s wives, Moreblessing Takawira, said she had been approached by Gumbura’s wives to join them as his 12th wife. She said she was considering the offer and had told the pastor’s wives that.
Bunga and the rest of Gumbura’s wives confirmed Takawira’s story. The women challenged the media to visit their different homes to confirm their claims of affluent lifestyles. Gumbura’s wives and the church members that are facing charges of pornography possession were yesterday remanded to January 7. They are being represented by Rekai Maposa.