Mashudu Netsianda / Michelle Gwizi, Court Reporters
ESIGODINI resident magistrate Tawanda Muchemwa has been arrested for allegedly assaulting his maid using a belt before locking her in a room.
The incident allegedly occurred last year in May, but was only reported this year.
Muchemwa, through his lawyer Mr Tanaka Muganyi of Tanaka Law Chambers, denied the charges and applied for a discharge of the case when he appeared before Harare regional magistrate Mrs Lucie-Anne Mungwari at the Tredgold Magistrates’ court in Bulawayo yesterday facing physical abuse and kidnapping charges.
He was remanded out of custody to today for ruling on the application for discharge.
Muchemwa (35) of Hillcrest suburb in Bulawayo allegedly assaulted his maid, Ms Shaymore Musendekwa (20), allegedly at the instigation of his wife.
His application for discharge was based on what he termed “inconsistencies in the State witnesses’ testimonies.
“One wonders how three people would come up with three different versions of the same incident. It is strange that there can be three truths of the same incident, in fact that is impossible,” said Muchemwa through Mr Muganyi.
Prosecuting, Mr Thobelani Nyathi said on May 8 last year at around 4.20PM, Ms Musendekwa intended to bathe Muchemwa’s children and when they refused to comply, she told their mother, Mrs Petronella Muchemwa.
He said instead of rebuking her defiant children, Mrs Muchemwa accused the maid of troubling her children before she reported the complainant to her husband through a phone call.
Mr Nyathi said the accused person arrived home shortly after 5PM and allegedly indiscriminately assaulted the complainant with a belt several times all over the body.
Three days later, he said, the accused person ordered the victim to lock the gate to the house before she handed over the keys to him.
“A few minutes later the accused person unlocked the gate and went inside the house where the complainant was and ordered her not to attend to anyone visiting the house. He also ordered the complainant not to give anyone their residential address,” said Mr Nyathi.
He said Muchemwa locked the complainant inside the house and left with the keys.
The complainant phoned her aunt, Ms Primrose Gwese, who in turn reported the matter to the police leading to Muchemwa’s arrest.
Ms Musendekwa sustained injuries and was taken to United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) for treatment.
Yesterday, she took the witness stand and narrated how her employer allegedly tortured her for an hour before locking her in one of the rooms.
Ms Musendekwa told the court that Muchemwa had been physically abusing her and making her three-year stay at the house unbearable.
“My employer is a heartless person who subjected me to torture for an hour. In fact, during my three-year tenure of employment at his house, it was hell on earth. On that particular day, he assaulted me and locked me in the house and I had to call my aunt to come and rescue me,” she said.
Ms Musendekwa’s aunt, Ms Gwese, said they tried to initiate dialogue with the accused person and he was not forthcoming prompting them to rope in the police.
Mr Silent Siwachi, the investigating officer, also took to the witness stand and failed to answer why he presented conflicting statements to the court.
He said he did not know how the charge was recorded as kidnapping because at first when the report was made he recorded a physical abuse charge only.
Mr Siwachi also changed the name of the source that was written on the RRB and made it to be the complainant who denied reporting in court.
“The informant reported the matter first but l recorded the complainant as the source because she was present at the station when l was filing the report,” he said.