Walter Nyamukondiwa Chinhoyi Bureau
Serial rapist and ritualist Paul Tembo (30), who was facing five counts of rape and another one of aggravated indecent assault, has been slapped with a 75-year jail term.
Tembo, who had terrorised Chegutu residents with indiscriminate acts of rape and indecent assault against children, commercial sex workers and the mentally-challenged for sometime, seemed untouchable.
This prompted residents to stage a demonstration at Pfupajena Police Station, jostling the officers into action.
The aura of invincibility stemmed from the fact that Tembo had been arrested thrice since 2009 and had on all occasions been released without going to court.
âYour date with destiny has beckoned and your shenanigans have to be put to an end,â Mr Katiyo told Tembo before sentencing him.
Mr Katiyo slapped Tembo with a combined 75 years in prison before setting aside five years on condition that he does not commit a similar offence in the next five years.
On the first two counts, Tembo raped a mentally challenged woman on two different occasions in 2007 and 2011.
The woman was called in to testify, but Mr Katiyo ruled that she was not fit to give evidence.
Another witness, Ms Farisai Madiro testified that she saw Tembo taking the mentally challenged woman to a sewage swamp in the area.
âI asked the girl where she was going and she said she was going with him, but knowing her condition I was troubled and sent for her father,â she said.
âThe father followed and when she came back she had mud and grass on her back and head.â
The mentally-challenged woman was taken to hospital and the medical examination showed that penetration had been effected.
Six other people, including two five year-olds who had been raped and indecently assaulted, testified against Tembo.
Prosecutor Mr Nyasha Katurura managed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Tembo had committed the offences. Mr Katiyo expressed dismay at the way the matter was handled before commending the Chegutu community for being proactive to expose injustice.
âI would like to commend the community and urge the society to follow up on reports they make to the police,â he said.
Mr Katiyo said Tembo targeted juveniles and mentally challenged people in a development that the Chegutu community said was done for ritual purposes.
Tembo is a well known gold panner in the area and the community believes his mother uses juju to brighten pannersâ chances of getting more gold.
Tembo had been held at Kadoma remand prison, but Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services could not bring him to Chinhoyi because of lack of fuel.
It took strenuous effort by Mr Katurura and the police to facilitate Temboâs journey for the trial.