Pumula prophet arrested on rape charges

A self-proclaimed prophet has been arrested in Pumula on charges of allegedly raping his client and reportedly forcing her to sleep with one of his congregants, purportedly as part of the “healing process.”

The matter came to light after the victim, aged 35, (name withheld for ethical reasons) reported to her mother that the prophet identified as Israel Gwatinyanya, 53, was forcing her to indulge in sexual intercourse with him and another congregate from the church.

Bulawayo acting police spokesperson Assistant Inspector, Nomalanga Msebele could not immediately confirm the incident.

A source close to the investigations, who spoke to CITE on condition of anonymity, said Gwatinyanya, , had been attending to the victim since August 2022.

“Gwatinyanya put up a shrine just behind Haulin Quarry mine in Pumula suburb. Sometime in August 2022, the victim went to Gwatinyanya for assistance, saying she had a problem with her husband. Gwatinyanya then suggested that she stay with him while getting assistance,” the source said.

“The victim stayed with Gwatinyanya and his wife, sharing the same tent but sleeping on different beds. In January 2023, Gwatinyanya informed the victim that the spirit told him that she should have sexual intercourse with him for the cleansing process to be successful, the accused had sexual intercourse with her several times from January 2023 to March 2023.”

The source further noted that in July 2023 the accused ordered the complainant to have sexual intercourse with another congregant (name supplied) aged 20 as part of her cleansing process.

“The victim initially refused but Gwatinyanya forced her and instructed that they go and have the intercourse at a nearby bush and after completing the act, they must both come back and report to him,” the source said.

“In August, Gwatinyanya again ordered the victim to have sexual intercourse with the congregant but she complained, citing that she would not indulge in sexual activities because her child was not feeling well. She also inquired why the cleansing process involved a third party (the congregant) with whom she was forced to have sexual intercourse. Gwatinyanya disregarded her concerns and maintained that it was all part of the cleansing and she had sexual intercourse for the second time with the congregant.”

The source said the victim then visited her mother on January 9, 2024, and she narrated her ordeal to her, resulting in a police report being made and the subsequent arrest of Gwatinyanya.

The source further stated that there are also allegations that at some point, Gwatinyanya attended to an infant, 11 months old, and the child died and was buried just close to the shrine but the incident was never reported to the police.

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