By Tendai Rupapa
Three youthful artisanal gold miners from Battlefields, Kadoma, who were recently recorded on video graphically narrating how they ‘gang raped’ commercial sex workers, are arguing that the women fabricated the rape charges in a bid to fix them for not paying for sexual services.
They also claimed that the allegations against them stem from their dispute with soldiers over the said prostitutes. The three teenagers said the ‘confessions’ were stage-managed as they were forced to make them on camera by the soldiers after they were severely assaulted.
Romeo Chirara (18), Prince Chikomo (18), Admire Chirongoma (18) added that the said ladies of the night were in the habit of sending soldiers to assault non-paying clients in exchange of sexual favours. The trio and their alleged accomplice Thabani Gazi (20) recently appeared before a Kadoma magistrate charged with several counts of rape and robbery.
They were remanded in custody. Through their lawyer Mr Tawanda Takaindisa of Bothwell Ndhlovu Attorneys, Chirara, Chikomo and Chirongoma filed an application for bail at the High Court giving reasons why they should be released from custody pending trial.
Gazi, who is currently serving a jail term on a different case, is not included in the bail application. The matter has been set down for November 3 before a High Court judge.
“The allegations arose after their friend, Gazi, paid a prostitute $10 and was not given the services he had paid for since she later went away with a soldier. It was at that stage that Gazi then demanded his money back from Florence and a dispute arose,” Mr Takaindisa said.
“These allegations are fabricated and no reasonable court acting carefully can believe such an outline and convict the applicants. The soldiers circulated the video because they wanted to please the complainants who had promised them sexual favours.
“It is not in the interest of justice that complainants made reports and went into hibernation in fear of the truth. The applicants are ready for trial and have an arguable case against the soldiers who assaulted them and the prostitutes who they did not pay and are willing to give them their dues should the court so direct.”
The trio submitted that they are victims of a feud between gold panners and soldiers over prostitutes in that area.
“The applicants, being mere 18-year-olds and having been assaulted by hired soldiers, had no option than to stage-manage the confessions in fear for their lives,” he said.
They further argue that they are proper candidates for bail and that they were innocent until proven guilty. Allegations against the four arose on July 4 this year when they allegedly entered the girls’ room at Mungwanya Compound in Battlefields armed with machetes, knives and empty beer bottles and gang raped them. It is the State’s case that the four used protection during the sexual encounters. The Herald