By Dionne Kanyowa STAFF WRITER firstname.lastname@example.org
THE rape trial of Goodness and Mercy Ministries leader Tapiwa Freddy commenced yesterday with the complainant, radio presenter Rutendo Mukati, telling Harare magistrate Gloria Takundwa that she was violated under the guise of receiving an anointing.
Freddy pleaded not guilty to rape and assault charges, arguing he had a relationship with Makuti.
Testifying in court, Makuti occasionally shed tears chronicling her claims that she was raped twice and physically assaulted by Freddy.
She claimed she was first raped by Freddy in November 2020 after returning from her rural home in Chiyendambuya, Manicaland, where they had gone with the pastor to pray for her child whom he claimed was possessed by a dark spirit that wanted to kill the kid.
On their way back to Harare, Makuti alleged, Freddy insisted on taking her to her Mount Pleasant home as it was late.
Upon arrival, she claimed, Freddy got into her bedroom and lay on her bed.
She said prior to that, Freddy had made numerous romantic advances to her ever since her husband died, but she kept on turning him down.
“I asked him what he was doing in my bed and told him that the reason I was rejecting his romantic advances was because a year had not lapsed since my husband’s death,” Makuti told the court.
“The accused then said to me, ‘Rutendo why do you make yourself suffer, the dead know nothing’ and he quoted a Bible verse I do not remember now.”
Makuti alleged Freddy locked the door while asking her to accept him as her husband and she noticed a pistol in the pastor’s shoes he had removed.
“He undressed himself and started advancing towards me, saying ‘Ruru accept me as your husband’. At this point I started screaming as I could sense danger, but no one heard me because I stayed in a double story building,” she alleged.
“He then forced me onto the bed and started forcefully removing my clothes while saying I should not resist the anointing he wanted to give me.
“Since I only have one hand, he overpowered me and raped me while reciting the words mazviita mambo vangu (thank you my lord).”
The radio presenter told the court that she started crying and told Freddy that he had raped her.
“He started wiping my tears and said to me ‘that’s how relationships start, they start in different ways, from now on I am the head of this household’.”
Makuti told the court that Freddy said ‘‘the way you are denying this anointing will cost you, it can cause death’’.
She alleged that Freddy gave her an example of a Harare prophet’s girlfriend and said she died in a foreign country after refusing to accept the “anointing”.
“He also told me that his God was different from mine because his God kills.
“The accused went on to tell me that if I refuse the anointing and decide to report the matter, there was nothing the police would do to him because he had power and connections,” Makuti alleged.
“He told me to look up a story on the Internet where he was accused of sleeping with his friend’s wife. He told me that he slept with her, but in the end he was the one who brought them to court although he wronged them.”
When asked by prosecutor Sheila Mupindu if she reported the rape case, Makuti said she reported the matter to her uncle, Witness Bungu (Chief Chikwaka), instead. She told the courts she was afraid of Freddy and also afraid of tarnishing her reputation as well as being embarrassed by what happened to her.
“Because I feared for my life and his threats, I just accepted him as my boyfriend from that day onwards like he wanted,” said Makuti.
She alleged that from that day, Freddy would come regularly to see her, but would only have sex with her during her menstrual periods.
“My menstrual cycle is for seven days and Freddy would sleep with me for about four or five days during my cycle and then wait for the next month. He would even say that he and I both had disabilities, only that mine was visible and his was not. He would say his disability is that he had a small manhood.”
On the second rape encounter, Makuti alleged Freddy forced her to have sex with him without protection while he had an open sore on his manhood.
“After that incident I became so distraught that I started going for counselling at the Family Trust Counselling Centre and told my uncle again. Even my co-workers could see I was losing weight and stressed,” she alleged.
Makuti also told the court that his uncle (Bungu) called Freddy to enquire about the rape allegations and it was at her uncle’s place that Freddy accepted the allegations and asked for an out-of-court settlement.
Makuti also revealed she told her aunt about the rape incident and played a conversation she recorded where her aunt was trying to get to the bottom of the rape story between the two with a hope of trying to reconcile the two.
In the recording Makuti is heard accusing Freddy that their first sexual encounter was rape and Freddy is also heard vehemently denying the allegation, arguing she consented.
Freddy is then further on heard admitting that if he raped Makuti in the manner that she alleges he would want to know how best he can make up for it and move on.
Freddy, through his defence lawyer Everson Chatambudza, denied the two counts of rape and physical assault charges he is facing, arguing Makuti was a bitter woman and wanted to maliciously embarrass Freddy.
The physical assault charges are emanating from an incident where Freddy is alleged to have beaten Makuti at Moja Shopping Centre in Harare. Freddy also denied these charges arguing he never went there during his affair with Makuti.