Mashudu Netsianda Senior Court Reporter
A FIGTREE teenage herdboy who raped his employer’s one-year-old daughter has been sentenced to 20 years in jail. Moses Muleya, 19, of Manda village, was on Friday convicted of rape by Bulawayo regional magistrate Sibongile Marondedze. He will serve an effective 18 years in jail after two years were suspended for five years on condition that he does not within that period commit a similar crime.
Marondedze, in her judgment, said although Muleya pleaded not guilty to the charge, there was enough evidence linking him to the crime. “From the evidence before the court we’re satisfied that the State has managed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and you are accordingly found guilty as charged,” Marondedze ruled.
The magistrate expressed concern over an increase in the number of rape cases.
“Rape is a very serious crime that is prevalent and in the circumstances deterrent sentences are called for. Muleya betrayed the trust bestowed on him by his employer when he raped the man’s daughter. What is aggravating is that instead of protecting the victim, Muleya chose to rape her despite her age,” said Marondedze.
She said Muleya was a danger to the community and deserved a lengthy prison term.
“The court frowns upon such kind of behaviour and cannot condone it. People like Muleya should be removed from society because they are a danger to their communities.
“A clear message has to be sent to the community that rapists have no place in our modern society. In the circumstances a lengthy prison term will meet the justice of the case,” ruled Marondedze.
Prosecuting, Paida Zengeni said on December 15 last year shortly after 6AM, Muleya, the victim and her mother proceeded to the fields to work.
The court heard that about two hours later, Muleya complained of a headache and his employer excused him after he asked to go to the homestead and take a rest. Muleya left the field with his employer’s daughter.
“Muleya took the victim with him to the homestead. He took the girl to his hut where he raped her,” said Zengeni. A neighbour, Tawanda Muchenje, heard the girl screaming and went to investigate.
“Upon arrival Muchenje found Muleya lying on the floor with the girl beside him and she was crying,” said Zengeni. The court heard that when Muchenje quizzed Muleya, he lied and told him that the girl was suffering from a severe headache.
The offence was discovered when the girl’s mother was bathing her.
The tot was bleeding.
The woman became suspicious and informed her neighbours who advised her to report the matter to the police leading to Muleya’s arrest.
The victim was taken to Plumtree Hospital for treatment and a medical report confirmed that she was raped.