By Nkosana Dlamini
Late cleric Robert Martin Gumbura’s daughter Esther Gumbura was Saturday gutted to learn of her father’s death in prison through social media.
The 35-year-old gospel musician is second born daughter to the shamed polygamous preacher’s first wife, Tafadzwa Makoni.
She is a member of an artist’s WhatsApp group, Combined Artists’ Union where she first got shocking news of the RMG Independent End Time Message founder’s death.
A member of the group sent a condolence message, “Nematambudziko (my condolences) Esther” while tagging Gumbura’s daughter who responded, “nematambudziko aani (over whose death?)”.
The member proceeded to tell Esther that her father had passed on.
“I am so sorry. I didn’t even know what you are talking about. I am confused,” wrote Esther before going quiet, proceeding to delete her messages and exiting the group.
The cleric died from Covid-19 Saturday afternoon at Chikurubi Maximum prison hospital.
It is a Zimbabwe an custom for close relatives to be informed of their loved ones’ sudden death before the news could be published.
However, the advent of mass communication platforms such as WhatsApp had broken the tradition as news spreads to all corners of the world in a matter of moments.
In a statement following Gumbura’s death, Prisons officials said “the next of kin has been advised”.
Gumbura had over 20 wives, making it a task for all of them to be informed separately.
At the time of his death, he was serving a 40-year jail term imposed on him in 2014 for four counts of rape.
The sentence was later reduced to 20 by the courts.
In 2019, Esther chronicled how she was forced to dump her father’s church when the late preacher took her to task for deciding to marry outside the congregation in violation of the church’s doctrines.
Wife to Leo Mhlanga, she now attends Spoken Word Fellowship.
That was not the only source of conflict she had with her father as she also decided to disappoint the late cleric through sticking to a musical career when her father had taken her to university to study agriculture hoping she would one day manage the family’s farming enterprise.
The Midlands State University Agricultural Economics degree holder has three singles to her name.