Chitungwiza North legislator and former Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities Mr Fidelis Mhashu has been hauled before a traditional court in his home area Mhondoro for engaging in incestuous relationships with two of his nieces, both of which resulted in the birth of four children.
Mr Mhashu (70), who later dumped both women, yesterday admitted to the unlawful unions, claiming that he had been driven to incest by his wife’s departure to Britain in 2003. He said the women, one of whom has since died, had actually become his wives.
Mhondoro’s Chief Chivero fined Mr Mhashu 15 head of cattle for the offences a fortnight ago. However, the former minister said he was appealing against that ruling because of the “excessive’’ fine. The cattle are supposed to compensate the women’s families.
“We attended the court hearing on the 14th of this month and after the ruling I indicated that I wanted to appeal because where on earth can I pay such ridiculous amounts,” he said.
Mr Mhashu said although he had relationships with his two nieces, who were sisters, he had not forced or sexually abused any of them as their family is now claiming.
“I was lonely when my wife and children left the country for the UK. I then requested for assistance from my nieces at family level, but, unfortunately we ended up falling in love. It is not true that I raped them.”
One of the women, who was 20 years old when she began the relationship with Mr Mhashu in 2008, last week accused the former minister of neglecting her and their two children.
“I have two surviving children with this man. The other one is only seven weeks old and, unfortunately, I cannot breastfeed the child. We have no food and I am now relying on handouts from neighbours for survival.”
In response, the Chitungwiza North legislator said although he had four children with the women, they were both gold diggers being used to destroy his political career.
“These people are gold diggers what they want is money. The late sister was a widow with four children when we started cohabiting. Our union produced one child who died seven days after the mother. I then began living with the younger sister and we were blessed with three children. Unfortunately we lost one,” Mr Mhashu said.
He claimed that the women’s family wanted him to pay lobola for the surviving sister, something he was not willing to do.
“If I pay lobola I will be committing a crime because I am legally married. What we were doing was just cohabiting. I still love her; it’s only that she is being used by my enemies to destroy my career,” he said.
The woman’s brother said the legislator had implored his family to deal with the matter privately because it would destroy his political career. However, all attempts to have the matter resolved amicably had been fruitless.
“He would always say ‘let’s deal with this privately because if the public gets to know it, that will be the end of my political career’. He initially promised to marry my late sister so as to avoid public embarrassment, but later changed his mind,” he said.
The brother said Mr Mhashu sought refuge at their family home in 2004 when he fled alleged political violence in Chitungwiza. At that time, he asked the late sister to be his private secretary.
“He came with nothing, but, as an uncle, we had to accommodate him. Within a few months we discovered that he was having an incestuous relationship with my older sister.
“We tried to talk to both of them, but all our advice fell on deaf ears. He would always plead with the elders to conceal the crime for fear of public embarrassment,” he said.
The sister, however, died in 2007.
“While my elder sister was hospitalised, he (Mhashu) requested my younger sister to assist him in caring for her. Soon after her death, we again discovered that he had begun a relationship with the younger one. We tried to warn him, but he would always plead with us promising to marry her, which he never did.’’ The Sunday Mail
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