By Nkosizile Ndlovu
A bid by a 23-year-old man from Esiphezini area in Umzingwane District in Matabeleland South Province, to rein in his 15-year-old wife after he found her in bed with another man in their matrimonial house backfired when he was later arrested for sleeping with a minor.
The court heard when Joel Mwembe, who is also an illegal gold panner, appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Shepherd Munjanja charged with physical abuse. Allegations were that on 16 October 2020, Mwembe was at home with his wife, whose name is being withheld for ethical reasons since she is a minor, when they had an argument over a love message which the latter found in his phone.
It is alleged that when his wife prodded him over the love message, Mwembe reportedly flew into a rage and started assaulting her.
The matter was reported to police leading to his arrest and subsequent appearance in court. In court it was heard that Mwembe assaulted his wife several times with a belt until it broke into pieces.
He then took a cooking stick and beat her up with it until it also cracked and he threw it away. After that he allegedly took a switch and assaulted her.
The complainant sustained injuries all over her body and was referred to hospital for medication.
Mwembe defended himself, saying he assaulted his wife after he caught her having sex with another man in their matrimonial home, but to no avail.
“It is not true that I assaulted her because of the love messages that she found in my phone. She lied to cover up her infidelity after I caught her red-handed having sexual intercourse with another man. On the day in question I was not at home. I was at work and I had even bought her some goodies as I wanted to surprise her as my wife,” said Mwembe.
He continued: “When I opened the bedroom door, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw her in the act with another man. While trying to come to terms with what was happening, her partially naked boyfriend pushed me away and bolted out of the room.
“With the help of our neighbours, some whom I also work with at the mine, we chased the boyfriend who also stays nearby and we apprehended him. We called his (boyfriend)’s relatives who came and witnessed the drama.
I was surprised when she told the police that I assaulted her for confronting me over a love message she saw in my phone.
That is not true”.
His teenage wife, however, didn’t come to court to testify against her allegedly violent husband and that again didn’t exonerate him. Mwembe told the court that after the incident, and out of shame, she ran away from home.
He insisted she would never come to court to testify against him after she lied to the police that he assaulted her over a love message she found in his phone.
“She will never come to court because she knows that she lied to the police to cover up her illicit affair to her relatives,” explained Mwembe.
However, his argument didn’t save him when the magistrate quickly ordered the prosecutor Terrence Chakabuda to charge him for another crime of having sexual intercourse with a minor.
“Your defence is understandable but the State has realised that you are sleeping with a 15-year-old girl whom you call your wife. A second charge of sleeping with a minor should be offered to you. This is a serious crime and you cannot be given bail. You are therefore remanded in custody,” charged the magistrate. B Metro