By A Correspondent | 44 year old Siqokoqela, the son of the late President Robert Mugabe’s successor, former vice president Phelekezela Mphoko, was given an effective 20-year sentence for raping a family member.
Bulawayo Regional Magistrate Elijah Singano stated that Mphoko had three times pushed himself on the little victim, threatening her with death.
Ruled the magistrate: “Rape remains an extremely serious offence and offenders must be punished. It violates and demoralises the victim. The criminal law and codification act stipulates that for an offence such as rape the courts should issue a sentence of life imprisonment or less,” Singano said.
He added: ““The accused used threats of death on the victim if she ever disclosed the matter to anyone. The complainant stayed at the accused’s house and looked up to him as a father and so he violated the trust of the complainant and the family at large.
“The court has to act in the best interest of the child. Many of the victim’s constitutional rights have been violated such as the right to privacy, good health, education, and dignity, I could go on and on. All these have long lasting effects on the minor,” he said.
“Lawfully each count of rape is equal to 10 years in prison and sentencing the accused 30 years for each count will be on the harsh side considering that it is the same victim and in a short space of time. The court is inclined to impose 20 years of imprisonment for all three counts and unfortunately, the court cannot further suspend this sentence as it will be taken for belittling this serious crime.
“The accused is therefore sentenced to an effective 20 years in prison for count one to three and two months for count four which will be served concurrently with the previous counts,” Magistrate Singano ruled.
Mphoko’s lawyer Zibusiso Ncube mitigated saying his client should be given a lesser sentence as he has a medical condition.
“The accused is aged 44 years and lives with a medical condition that needs him to be constantly visiting the doctor. He has a young family with the eldest biological daughter aged 13 followed by a boy aged 12 and his adopted daughter Sinikiwe Masiye.
“The accused has an immovable property which includes a house in Hillside suburb, Greydot communication company and five cars. When it comes to the rape charges your worship it will be unjust that the court looks at all three counts separately considering their proximity and that there are no specific dates. It is therefore our prayer that these counts be taken as one when it comes to sentencing,” he argued.