'Police turned away Lt Col rape victim'

HARARE - A 19-year-old woman, reportedly raped by lieutenant-colonel Rangarirai Kembo, was turned away by police officers when she first attempted to report the case, a Harare court heard yesterday.

This was revealed during the continuation of Kembo’s rape trial yesterday. The victim’s aunt (identification withheld) later assisted her to report the case.

Kembo appeared before Harare regional magistrate Noel Mupeiwa, represented by Emmanuel Samundombe.

“She said the accused person had ordered her not to leave the house. When she went to report the matter to the police on a Sunday, police told her that they were not working and declined to hear her claims. I returned with her there the following day and she even directed us to the office where she had initially tried to report the matter,” the aunt testified.

However, Samundombe said it was not consistent with rape victims to continue staying at the residence of a perpetrator like what the complainant had done.

He dismissed the aunt as an “incredible witness” because her testimony had elements that differed to the victim’s who gave her evidence in camera.

Kembo claimed in his defence that he was not at his house at the material time and claimed his enemies had influenced the woman to fabricate charges against him

“The accused person was not even at his place of residence when this offence occurred. He will further state that by the nature of his job he has created enemies who influenced the complainant to lie that he had committed this offence,” Samundombe said.

Prosecutor Timothy Makoni alleged that on July 29, around 9pm, the woman was asleep in her bedroom. Kembo then called her.

The court heard that she went into the dining room where Kembo was seated and he told her to warm his food.

She reportedly served Kembo some food and went back to sleep. But within a few minutes, the woman was summoned back to collect the plates.

She returned to sleep but was called again by Kembo, who asked her to watch television with him but she refused.  The woman went back to sleep but was awakened by Kembo, who was standing in her bedroom, the court heard.

The court heard that Kembo advanced towards the woman and began fondling her breasts. The complainant began crying and tried to fight Kembo but was overpowered and raped.

After the incident, Kembo allegedly ordered the woman not to tell anyone about the incident.

She later filed a police report and Kembo was subsequently arrested. The complainant was referred for medical examinations and an affidavit compiled will be produced in court.

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