Melody Baya Court Reporter
A GROUP of women from Mpopoma suburb yesterday staged a demonstration at Bulawayo’s Western Commonage Magistrates’ Court protesting against the granting of bail to a rape suspect who allegedly held a 14-year-old captive for four days and subjected her to anal sex.
The women, including the rape victim’s mother, who were joined by the MDC MP for Bulawayo Metropolitan province Jasmine Toffa and eight child activists, were demanding that rape suspects must be remanded in custody until finalisation of their cases.
The protestors were briefly detained and released without charge.
Police locked the gate to the courts and screened people who wanted to go inside as the women sang and waved placards denouncing the granting of bail to the rape suspect.
Some of the messages read “pasi nerape” (down with rape) while others were written “No bail for rapists.”
Acting Bulawayo police spokesman Assistant Inspector Abednico Ncube said he could not immediately comment on the matter.
Patricia Tshabalala, the patron of Vulindlela Guardians for Orphans in Mpopoma suburb where the 14-year-old rape victims lives said they mobilised to demonstrate against the granting of bail to rape suspects.
She said granting bail to rape suspects puts the lives of victims at risk.
Tshabalala said their decision was sparked by the latest decision by a magistrate at the court to grant $100 bail to a rape suspect who allegedly held the 14-year-old captive for four days while subjecting her to anal sex.
The incident occurred in Mpopoma suburb.
The suspect was granted bail by magistrate Abednico Ndebele.
The assailant who cannot be named to protect the victim, is allegedly the mother’s ex-boyfriend.
He is alleged to have misled the girl into believing that her mother wanted her to collect something from his house when they met at a local park.
“My ex-boyfriend is the one who raped my child. He took my child on December 31 and only released her on December 4. My daughter told me that he forced her to have anal sexual intercourse with him,” said the mother.
Tshabalala said the courts, by granting bail to rape suspects, were not protecting the victims.
“How can they grant bail to such criminals? The law is supposed to protect our children, our girls, and not show lenience to such people,” said Tshabalala.
Last October, a teacher who was in July freed on bail for allegedly raping a 14-year-old girl, allegedly killed the victim to conceal the crime. Bernard Chiwengwa, 45, a teacher at Nyamhondoro Secondary School in Mudzi reappeared in court facing a fresh charge of murder barely three months after his release on bail for allegedly raping the girl.
The teacher allegedly abducted the young girl and murdered her soon after his release on bail.