Solange Dengu Court Reporter
A HARARE magistrate yesterday sentenced the two touts who indecently assaulted a woman at Simon Vengai Muzenda (formerly Fourth Street) bus rank in the city last year to an effective eight months in prison each. Magistrate Ms Rekina Dzikiti had sentenced Marvellous Kandemiri (32) and Blessing Chinodakufa (31) to 12 months in prison before suspending four months on condition of good behaviour.
Ms Dzikiti said a non-custodial sentence was unjustified, saying there was need to stop people from acting like animals.
She described the pair’s actions as barbaric, inhuman and degrading.
“The incident was recorded and circulated on social media networks imposing a psychological effect on the complainant,” she said.
“It is the duty of every citizen to tolerate and care for one another not to strip one another and a woman for that matter. It is like throwing our culture to the dogs.”
Ms Dzikiti said people should walk freely on the streets and enjoy their freedom without being afraid of being stripped.
“A custodial sentence will drive a certain message to other people out there,” she said.
In aggravation, prosecutor Mrs Kudzai Chigwedere implored the court to give the pair a prison term coupled with a fine.
“Zimbabwe as a nation according to the Constitution recognises that we have the right to human dignity, hence as a nation we will not support such behaviour.
“Being first offenders does not mean they should be kept out of prison. These are the same persons our youngsters are looking at to guide them. It took the complainant two weeks to report the case because of the degree of the trauma,” she said.
In mitigation, Kandemiri and Chinodakufa, through their lawyer Mr Nathaniel Chigoro, pleaded for the court’s lenience, saying that they had learnt their lesson since they had been in remand prison from the time they were arrested.
He pleaded for a non-custodial sentence and opted for a fine or community service.
Mr Chigoro said: “The woman was harassed by more than 40 people, therefore, we cannot deter them by punishing only two people.
“Mercy should be seen to flow within this sentence.”
The incident happened on December 17 last year when the woman was at the bus terminus on her way to Ruwa.
She was stripped by Kandemiri, Chinodakufa and their accomplices still at large and although she made efforts to cover herself up, they continued pulling her dress up to her waist and lowering her panties.