A Zanu PF legislator, Munyaradzi Kereke, was on Monday found guilty and jailed 14 years for rape.
Kekere, who is a Bikita West MP and a former adviser to ex-Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono, will however serve an effective 10 years.
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He was accused of raping his wife’s then 13-year-old niece in 2010 at gunpoint.
Harare magistrate Norman Mupeiwa convicted Kereke of rape, but cleared the businessman of an indecent assault charge, which the MP was said to have committed against his victim’s sister.
In aggravation of sentence, the State, led by private prosecutor Charles Warara, accused Kereke of taking advantage of circumstances and the girl’s age, whom he abused at gun point.
“He went on to use a gun and traumatised the minor girl who didn’t even understand what was going on. He is married with three wives, but went on to rape the minor without using protection, exposing her to sexually transmitted diseases or even HIV,” the prosecution said.
“He stooped so low, yet he is a person of authority. Another thing is that he fought relentlessly trying to avert prosecution and that on its own aggravates his matter. The delay can be put on the Prosecutor-General (PG) Johannes Tomana, but they took this stance together. If it was not for the guardians’ relentlessness, this case would have died a natural death.”
Warara asked the court to make an example out of Kereke.
“Court must make this an example because there may be people in this high life abusing minors and still getting away with it. He made every effort to avoid this case even when he qualified for jail. Rape is as bad as destroying someone’s life, so it should not be treated less seriously. He sat down with witnesses to make sure they testified in his favour and deceive the court. As we speak, the PG (Tomana) is being charged for his conduct in this case, which demonstrates whatever was happening has been exposed,” the private prosecutor said.
Warara said “it was clear corruption was behind this”.
He said there was no explanation why Kereke was favoured by people in authority.
Magistrate Mupeiwa, in his ruling, said Kereke had “cooked” evidence and coached witnesses, despite his (Kereke) defence being shallow.
The court also read that it was shocking to note that Kereke’s wife, the juvenile’s aunt, lied to protect her husband, yet her brother’s daughter had been sexually-molested.
In March 2010, Kereke was alone with the then 13-year-old girl, whom he grabbed by the waist and pushed onto the couch before fondling her breasts.
The girl screamed, but no one heard her. On August 22, 2010, the girl’s young sister was allegedly asked to baby-sit by Kereke’s wife.
When the baby fell asleep, the girl sat on the couch in the bedroom and Kereke started fondling her.
He pointed the gun at the girl and threatened to shoot her if she did not comply with his orders and raped her.
Tomana ‑ currently suspended from his PG post over this matter and others dating back to 2008 ‑ had declined to allow Kereke to be prosecuted, prompting the victim’s guardian, Francis Maramwidze, to pursue a private prosecution.
He also tried to block a private prosecution before the matter headed to a constitutional showdown, before being forced to grant a private prosecution.