Patrick Chitumba Midlands Bureau Chief
A Shurugwi man has been jailed 30 years for turning a girl into a sex slave for over three years. Ernest Kwekani (28) appeared before Gweru regional magistrate Mrs Phathekile Msipa facing several counts of raping the complainant, now 12-years-old, who is his friend’s daughter.
Kwekani pleaded not guilty to the charges, but was convicted after a full trial.
In passing sentence, Mrs Msipa said Kwekani had turned the minor into a sex slave and deserved a long prison stay to deter would-be offenders.
“You turned the complainant into a sex slave giving her a packet of jiggies or a mint each time you raped her. Because of your actions, doctors’ reports brought before the court indicate that the complainant as young as she is, is now sexually active which is a bad development.
“You are sentenced to 30 years in prison of which 10 years are suspended on condition of good behaviour,” she said.
During trial, the Grade Six pupil from Shurugwi said she was a victim of sexual abuse which lasted three years leaving a Gweru Regional court in tears after narrating how she was raped by Kwekani who is her father’s best friend from 2015 to last year.
The complaint who testified in camera, told the court that she had lost count of the number of times she was allegedly raped by Kwekani.
She said he allegedly started raping her in the presence of his grandmother when she was about nine.
“He started sleeping with me when I was nine-years-old until he was caught last year. The first time it was when I was sleeping with his old grandmother. He would give me one mint sweet or a packet of jiggies each time he raped me and it was very painful,” said the minor.
The minor’s father told the same court that he treated Kwekani as his best friend since they were close, not knowing that he was abusing his daughter.
“We were very close and I treated him as family not knowing that he was raping my daughter,” he said.
In his defence, Kwekani accused the complainant and her father of cooking up the charges.
It was the State case that in May 2015 and in Shurugwi, the complainant went to sleep with Kwekani’s grandmother who was very old.
At around 8pm, the court heard that Kwekani entered the room, sneaked in the blankets and slept behind the complainant before raping her once in the presence of her grandmother.
On September 5 last year, the complainant in the company of her young sister went to Kwekani’s homestead to collect a wooden mill.
The court heard that she found Kwekani alone before he started showing her pornographic videos.
After that he ordered the complainant to go into his bedroom where he raped her once.
Kwekani, the court heard, quickly left his bedroom afterwards, but found the complainant’s father waiting outside.
The matter was reported to the police leading to his arrest.
Mr Talent Tadenyika appeared for the State.