From Veronica Gwaze
Sitting in solitary confinement in the heart of Chikurubi Maximum Prison, Robert Gumbura, jailed preacher, pondered the future of his 21 wives. He has served only five of his 40 years in prison after being convicted of rape in early 2014.
The 62-year-old Independent End Time Message Church of the founder of Zimbabwe will only leave the high prison walls as a 98-year-old.
Gumbura seems to have surrendered to fate and collapsed when The Sunday Mail Society had a chat with him last week.
The polygamist dropped a bomb and said that his wives are free to marry again as they are still young and have marital needs.
"I had the hope that one day I would leave the prison, but after losing several lawsuits, I must accept that freedom should never come in. My life is behind these walls.
"That's why I decided to get my wives to marry again instead of waiting for me, I have to spend 35 years behind the bars, that's too much," said a distraught Gumbura.
"I do not suspect them of cheating and have nothing against my women, but I am imprisoned here, it is only fair for my women to continue if they want to.
"Yes, I am still their husband, but there is more to marriage, you have to be intimate as husband and wife, I should take care of my wives as a husband, so they can not hold me because I am not there. # 39;
But Gumbura's wives have sworn that they are not going anywhere. The women are engaged in running Gumbura's companies, including a farm and a gold mine.
Family spokesman Queen Bunga, who is the second wife of the imprisoned preacher, said that Gumbura's church is still operational.
Would it be the money that keeps the family together?
Bunga says that they are loyal to their husbands and do not hold on to marriage because of the love of wealth.
"In difficult times we find strength in each other, we comfort each other and these are the advantages of a polygamous marriage," she said.
"We have pledged our love and loyalty to baba (Gumbura), and we remain hopeful that one day he will be released. & # 39;
Queen Bunga said that a number of Gumbura close relatives pressured them to marry again.
"They want us to be gone, but we are loyal and will not leave, we love our husbands and we will visit him regularly until he is released," she said.
& # 39; Even after his release, our husband can marry more women. His absence has changed us for the better, we are united as a family. & # 39;
Gumbura, who had a rather jovial character, was dressed in white prison clothes and was in a bad mood when The Sunday Mail Society interviewed him last week during a tour of the prisons of the Roman Catholic Church in Highfield.
It is said that Gumbura is now so desperate that he sometimes refuses to leave his cell to meet his visiting family.
It seems that his hope of being with his many wives in his Harare mansion has now faded.
Gumbura and eight others are housed in FB1 Hall – known as Borrowdale & # 39; – where the most dangerous criminals are kept in solitary confinement.
Previously, the FB1 room housed notorious criminals, such as the late Stephen Chidhumo, Edgar Masendeke and Elias Chauke, while they waited for the hangman's noose. Sunday Mail