Lt Colonel mounts defence in rape trial

HARARE - Lliutenant-colonel Ranagarirai Kembo — who is answering to charges of raping his 19-year-old maid — opened his defence case yesterday and claimed his neighbours had influenced the woman to fabricate charges against him.

Kembo appeared before Harare magistrate Noel Mupeiwa and claimed he was away on a business trip on the day in question.

“I had known the complainant for only one month and on the alleged day of the offence; I woke up around 7am and left for Shamva to regularise paperwork for my mining claims. I returned home at around 11pm and went to my bedroom to sleep

“I live in a camp, a closed community and may have enemies that probably influenced the complainant to fabricate the allegations of rape against me. I never forced myself on her

“…that she alleges I awoke her to serve me food is a lie because whenever I get home late, I serve myself or retire to bed.”

Prosecutor Timothy Makoni queried why Kembo had for the first time during the trial mentioned that he was in Shamva.

He claimed Kembo had conveniently adjusted the time he returned to his house on the day to exonerate himself from the offence.

“I put it to you that you sweet-talked the complainant that day and forced yourself on her before you threatened her not to report the allegations,” Makoni said.

“…if for the one month that you had known complainant you never interacted with her because of your busy schedules why would she fabricate charges against you?”

Makoni alleged that on July 29 around 9pm, the woman was asleep in her bedroom. Lt Col 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. He allegedly started telling her that she was well behaved and had been raised well.

The court heard that Kembo advanced towards the woman and began fondling her breasts.

The complainant began crying, the court heard, and tried to fight Kembo but was overpowered and raped, the court heard.

After the incident, Kembo allegedly ordered the woman not to tell anyone about the incident. He reportedly left for his bedroom.

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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