Rapist chief seeks freedom

HARARE - An 83-year-old Buhera chief currently serving 10 years for raping a teen relative wants to be freed from prison, at least until his appeal is finalised.

Magaya Gunguwo’s rule as Chief Chitsunge of Buhera ended in shame after he was convicted in April for raping a 14-year-old girl who happens to be his relative.

Gunguwo will, however, serve 10 years after five years were suspended on condition of good behaviour for the next five years.

He has now approached the High Court seeking to be freed on bail pending the determination of his appeal.
“He (Gunguwo) strongly feels he was wrongly convicted and being the current chief, he is desirous of clearing his name by having the appeal prosecuted quickly,” reads Gunguwo’s application.

“Applicant is a family person with considerable family commitments. He is aware that his appeal has got very bright prospects of success against conviction and hence has no reason to abscond,” reads the application.

Gunguwo said considering that appeals take “very long” to be heard, he would be prejudiced if he remains incarcerated.

High Court judge Felistas Chatukuta yesterday postponed the matter to next Wednesday to allow the State to file its response.

Prosecutors said Gunguwo committed the offences between February and August last year after the chief had asked the girl to look after his grandchildren while he attended a chiefs’ conference in Bulawayo.

According to court papers, the girl is related to the chief.

The State managed to prove that when the chief came back from the conference, he raped the girl several times in his bedroom.

The matter only surfaced after the girl started complaining of stomach pains.

Her mother took her to hospital where doctors discovered she had been sexually abused. - Tendai Kamhungira

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