HARARE – Tempers flared at the Master of the High Court’s offices on Monday as relatives of the late rapist cleric Robert Martin Gumbura fought in vain against his 17 wives over the appointment of the executor of his estate.
Gumbura, the founder of RMG Independent End Time Message Church, succumbed to Covid-19 in August this year while serving time at Chikurubi Maximum Prison for raping several women.
The 17 wives, dressed in black and spotting dark sunglasses, made a grand entry at the courts and sat at the corner where they calmly followed proceedings as Gumbura’s sisters and brother openly disparaged them.
Some of Gumbura’s children came in solidarity with their mothers.
The hearing before the assistant master of the High Court dragged on from morning until lunchtime as Gumbura’s brother and sisters contested the selection of his nephew Chivimbiso Thomas Nyathi by the late cleric’s widows to be the executor of the estate.
“All the wives chose his nephew Chivimbiso Thomas Nyathi but other relatives were totally against it. They wanted Gumbura’s brother, Innocent, to be the executor, that’s why the hearing took so long. The master was very clear that the court has to take into account the views of potential beneficiaries,” said lawyer Lovemore Madhuku, who is representing the widows.
Gumbura’s brother insisted that he is the rightful executor since he is playing the role of father to the late pastor’s children.
He said he is the one who represents the children when they get married and in all processes that require the father to play the role.
The master assured him that the appointment of another executor does not necessarily mean that he will be stripped of his roles as the father.
Madhuku applauded Gumbura’s first wife for accommodating her co-wives despite the fact that she is the only one who formally wedded the late convict.
Gumbura left behind 17 wives, 34 children and an estate comprising a compound that includes a central home, multiple surrounding cottages and a church building.
Reports say he has 11 houses in total.
Gumbura also owned a farm, a mine and a fleet of 20 vehicles.
A total of 18 children left behind by Gumbura are minors and the youngest aged 7.
The home of the polygamist is lavishly furnished with artwork featuring himself, Jesus Christ and William Branham, his godfather.
Gumbura was caged 50 years for rape in 2014 before 10 years were set aside conditionally.
He was also convicted for possession of pornographic material.
Gumbura still had five years of his sentence to serve when he was released following a court appeal.
Madhuku said the next step is for Gumbura’s nephew to be formally appointed before an advert of the late cleric’s estate will be published to enable debtors and creditors to come forth.