Jailed RMG Independent End Time Message church leader Robert Martin Gumbura is reportedly still influential even behind bars after revelations that he was feeding prison officers at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison where he is locked up.
The disclosures were made by a former police detective, State witness Claudius Mutizwa, while testifying against Gumbura and eight others who are facing fresh charges of attempting to escape from prison before magistrate Francis Mapfumo.
Mutizwa said Gumbura was the most popular person at the prison and prison officers were actually getting tea from him.
“The first accused person (Gumbura) is regarded as the Godfather even the prison officers sometimes get tea from him,” Mutizwa said.
Asked by State counsel Michael Reza on whether Gumbura was aware of the planned chaos that ensued when prisoners attempted to escape, Mutizwa said he was indeed aware and he was asked to call him by one Senior Prison Officer (SPO) Chikudo, who informed him that the plan was being aborted.
Mutizwa said Gumbura was “frustrated” when he was told the plan was being suspended and he insisted that they go ahead.
“On March 13, 2015, I was asked by SPO Chikudo, who is attached to the reception, to call Gumbura and I did likewise. The place of the conversation was the library. He advised the first accused that the mission had been aborted,” Mutizwa said.
He said Gumbura then queried that it was too late for the mission to be aborted as the “other guys were in separate sections and were already demonstrating”. He said prisoners were singing political songs and some were denouncing him labelling him (Mutizwa) a traitor as he had refused to work with them.
Mutizwa told the court that the plan had been that the prisoners, had they escaped, were to proceed to Support Unit where they would get guns as well as Morris Depot, while they were co-ordinating with one Albert Matapo, an ex-convict they were working with.
“There were some people who were outside who were supposed to facilitate the operation. One of them was Albert Matapo. They wanted to incorporate me in this, but I refused,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mapfumo made a ruling on the accused’s applications to stop prison officers from abusing them and to protect them from physical abuse or threats and the application was granted.
“The court orders the State to investigate the issues raised through the police who should also report back to this court on its findings by Friday this week,” Mapfumo said.
The magistrate added: “Prisons are ordered to stop serving inmates with dirty cups and plates.”
The magistrate also ordered the prosecutor to investigate allegations that prison officers were interfering with Mutizwa as well as that the accused prisoners were being made to wear garb meant for condemned criminals.