By Abel Zhakata
NYANGA – A 52-year-old man from Chief Tangwena’s area in Nyanga charged with statutory rape pleaded with the courts for freedom saying he badly needs to take care of his six-month pregnant victim.
John Mabvudza from Pabwe Village told magistrate, Mr Ignatio Mhene, on Wednesday that he was madly in love with the complainant whom he said was his wife. He is facing charges of having sexual intercourse with a minor.
Mabvudza confessed to sleeping with the girl saying that cannot be termed rape since she was his wife. However, Mr Mhene convicted him on his own plea and sentenced him to 24 months in jail, six of which were set aside on condition that he does not commit a similar offence in the next five years.
It was the States case led by public prosecutor Mr Kelvin Mufute that on December 6, 2012 the complainant was pledged by her sisters to the accused under the traditional way known as kurooodza in Shona.
“Their argument was that they wanted the accused to take care of the poor girl since they were struggling to look after her. Accused person then took the girl as his wife and had sexual intercourse with her. She fell pregnant,’’ he said.
In trying to prove his innocence Mabvudza said he had done nothing wrong since he was sleeping with his wife like what normal married people do. He even told the court that he wanted to take care of his pregnant wife.
In arriving at the sentence the court noted that there was a big age difference of 37 years between the accused and the complainant. It also took into the consideration that the complainant was a young girl and that no man in his right senses will think that she is a mature woman and therefore take her in as a wife.
Meanwhile, the complainant’s sisters aged 52 and 33 who cannot be named as this will automatically disclose the identity of the victim are set to appear in court on July 15, 2013 on charges of pledging the girl to Mabvura.
It is an offence to give away underage girls to men as wives as this is not only an infringement of children’s rights but also promotes statutory rape and abuse.