Siqokoqela Mphoko, son of former Zimbabwean Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, has been sentenced 20-year imprisonment for allegedly raping his 12-year-old niece.
The 45-year-old was also given a concurrent two-month sentence for violating a court order by Bulawayo Regional Magistrate, Elijah Singano.
The judge noted that Mphoko threatened the victim with death if she revealed the matter to anyone.
It was also gathered that the victim looked up to Mphoko as a father figure, but he betrayed her trust, violating the rights of both the victim and her family.
The Prosecutor, Acquman Khupe told the court that the minor’s mother found out that her daughter, who was living with the Mphokos, was raped when she unexpectedly returned from South Africa.
Khupe told the court that a doctor who examined the child indicated that she was sexually active.
Mphoko’s lawyer argued for a reduced sentence, citing his medical condition and family obligations. His lawyer said he had an immovable property, including a house and cars, and a young family. The prosecutor on their own part said the victim would suffer psychological consequences for life.
Singano however said the court must act in the best interests of the child, and many of the victim’s constitutional rights were violated, including privacy, good health, education, and dignity. The magistrate agreed with the defense’s request to treat all three counts as one for sentencing.
The magistrate 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.”
Mphoko was sentenced based on three charges of rape and another charge of obstructing the course of justice as he allegedly bolted from Hillside Police Station on the first day he was arrested and then handed himself over to the police the following day.