By Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu
A 19 year old Gwanda man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for raping his two nieces aged seven and 11 years old when they were left under his custody by their grandmother as she went to Harare.
The man, who cannot be named for ethical reasons, raped his 11-year-old niece who is a Grade Three pupil thrice and his niece who is a Grade One pupil once between January 1 and November 17 last year.
He pleaded not guilty to rape charges when he appeared before Gwanda regional magistrate, Mr Mark Dzira. He was however convicted due to overwhelming evidence.
The man was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment and six years were suspended on condition that he does not commit a similar offence within the next five years.
Prosecuting, Mr Pearson Chekeya said the man raped his two nieces after they had been left under his custody by their grandmother.
“The complainant’s grandmother went to Harare and left her grandchildren under the care of their uncle. On a date unknown but from January 1 to November 16, 2017, the man ordered his 11-year-old niece to sweep in her grandmother’s bedroom hut and told his seven-year-old niece to remain in the kitchen.
“He followed his niece into the hut and raped her and then warned her against reporting the matter to anyone. On a later day the man called his niece into his bedroom hut and raped her again. In November last year the man raped his niece for the third time,” he said.
Mr Chekeya said during the same period the man tasked his seven-year-old niece to sweep in her grandmother’s bedroom hut while her 11-year-old sister prepared food in the kitchen.
He said the man followed the girl into the hut and raped her once before warning her against reporting the matter. Mr Chekeya said the seven-year-old juvenile reported what had transpired to her sister.
He said the 11-year-old juvenile reported the case to her teacher who reported the matter to the headmaster. The matter was reported to the police resulting in the man’s arrest.
In his defence, the man denied raping his two nieces saying he suspected that the juveniles were acting under the influence of an adult who had a grudge against him. The Chronicle