Wednesday 27 September 2017


A BULAWAYO Tredgold Court official has been implicated in a matter in which a minor rape victim is being pressured to withdraw a case against an uncle who allegedly abused her.

The minor (15) walked for about 30km from Nkenyane, Bubi district to Bulawayo as she fled from her uncle who had threatened to kill her after raping her twice.

The accused person appeared before senior regional magistrate Mr Tranos Utahwashe on September 5 and was remanded in custody to October 3.

A close family relative whose identity has been withdrawn to protect the minor told The Chronicle yesterday that meetings have been held to try and force the child to withdraw.
The relative said a court official has demanded $500 to help the family to withdraw the matter before the court.

“I am worried because the family is planning to drop the charges against their own member who raped his niece. A court official told them that $500 is needed to facilitate the withdrawal of the case and they are already sourcing the money,” said the relative.

“They have since decided to give that official $500 and force the girl’s aunt who is the guardian to drop the charges. I hope something can be done to stop this corruption because they are determined to free him at whatever cost.”
The girl, a Grade Seven pupil, walked from Nkenyane to Cowdray Park and was given shelter by a Good Samaritan after she was allegedly raped in May this year.
She was first reported as a missing person on May 26 and was located on July 10.

When she ran away from home her aunt, who failed to act when the girl told her that she had been raped, filed a missing person’s report.

When the Good Samaritan saw reports on social media and in newspapers that the girl she had taken into her home was being sought by her family, she notified the police.
Police interviewed the rape victim and she opened up about the alleged assault.

The girl took to the witness stand before Mr Utahwashe and told of how she walked for about 30km in fear of her uncle who had raped and threatened to kill her.

“My uncle once forced me to watch him bath and when I refused, he said I was a coward. After his bath he raped me during the same night and I did not report to anyone as I feared being killed,” said the girl on camera.

“The second rape incident took place when my aunt whom I stay with was away. He came to our homestead which is near his and raped me once. When my aunt came back, I told her and she promised that we would report the matter the next day.”

The court heard that the next day her aunt decided to concentrate on her errands, then came back home late and no police report was made.

“When I realised my aunt had gone without reporting the case, I decided to flee from home until I got to a place called Cowdray Park where a certain woman helped me,” she said.
“After a few days, she told me that police were circulating a missing person statement with my details. I finally opened up about the rape incident when police were interrogating me.”

Her aunt testified that she could not confront her brother about the rape allegations as she was scared of being killed.

Prosecuting, Mr Robin Mukura said sometime in August last year at around 3PM, the girl went into her uncle’s room to check the time.

“He met her by the door and pushed her to the floor before raping her once. He then threatened to kill the girl if she told anyone about the matter,” said Mr Mukura.

“On May 25 this year at around 2PM, the girl was sleeping in her aunt’s bedroom. Her uncle entered the hut and found the girl alone. The man raped her once and went away.”
He said the case was first reported as a missing person on May 26 at around 7PM.

Two weeks ago, a 16-year-old Bulawayo girl was allowed to drop sexual abuse charges against her step-father (43) after saying he is the family’s breadwinner.

The girl from Sidojiwe Flats who cannot be named for ethical reasons successfully withdrew the charges after the State, led by Nkathazo Dlodlo, accepted her affidavit.
In her affidavit the girl said: “I reported a case at Donnington Police Station on September 14 this year against my step-father. Now I wish to withdraw the case because we sat as a family and decided to solve the matter amicably,” she said.

“The accused is a breadwinner in our family and he apologised to me and I have accepted the apology. No one forced me to withdraw the case, it was my decision,” she wrote.
An official from the Judicial Service Commission who commented on conditions of anonymity said in such cases the magistrate’s hands were tied and therefore the court could not do anything.

Women’s groups have repeatedly complained about many child abuse cases that are not reported because of relatives who are protecting culprits. The few bold victims that have defied relatives and reported abuse cases to either their teachers or the police have been persecuted and in most cases by close relatives who would rather have them suffer in silence than cause the arrest of the culprits. Chronicle


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