HARARE – Self-styled prophet Tapiwa Freddy was acquitted of raping a ZBC radio presenter on Friday.
Magistrate Gloria Takundwa also ruled that charges of physical abuse against the preacher were unproven.
The Goodness and Mercy Ministries founder had pleaded not guilty to both charges, and applied for discharge at the end of the prosecution case.
Takundwa ruled that Freddy’s accuser, a 33-year-old woman, was an unreliable witness whose testimony omitted vital information that created doubt in the court’s mind.
She ruled that the state had failed to prove a prima facie case that would necessitate that Freddy be put to his defence.
Freddy’s lawyer Jivas Mudimu said outside court: “It was clear from the beginning that there was no rape. It was clear from the word go.
“This was just blackmail, and we are happy that justice has prevailed.”
Freddy took to social media to celebrate his victory.
“Discharged and acquitted of all charges by the courts. All I can say is ‘Thank you Lord’,” he wrote on Facebook.
Freddy, who is also a musician, went on to post a 30-second video clip from his 2019 single ‘Munyama weGozo’, which calls on people to verify information before they pass judgement.
The married preacher admitted during the trial that he had an adulterous affair with his accuser.
The woman said Freddy relentlessly pursued her after her husband died, and then raped her at her Mount Pleasant Heights home sometime in November 2020.
Freddy’s defence team played the court several audio recordings of calls between the two.
She was heard on one, speaking in Shona: “I’m hungry, l want sex. I’m failing to control my feelings.”
Freddy’s lawyers also told the court that the preacher was being blackmailed by the woman who was demanding money and vehicles.