An elderly man (75) from rural Jambezi in Hwange district who allegedly raped and impregnated his 14-year-old granddaughter had Mother Luck to thank after he was acquitted of the two counts of rape he was facing.
The acquitted septuagenarian whose name cannot be revealed to protect the identity of the minor, was arrested on October 3 2019 after being charged with two counts of rape and another of attempting to rape the 14-year-old, who is daughter to his late son.
The girl, who dropped out of school last year while in Form 1 because of the teenage pregnancy, gave birth in January this year.
But, appearing before Hwange regional magistrate Collet Ncube over the weekend, the 75-year-old pleaded not guilty to the charges and claimed that the juvenile was, instead, impregnated by her sister’s husband.
Through his legal practitioner Thulani Nkala of Dube, Nkala and Company, the 75-year-old in turn claims that his granddaughter was being influenced by her elder sister to falsely testify against him and protect her husband.
The accused also alleged that there was bad blood between the complaint’s elder sister and himself over an inheritance wrangle pertaining to his late son’s house.
While acquitting the victim’s grandfather, who hails from Jabula area under Chief Shana, the regional magistrate said it was difficult to convict the old man in light of unclear circumstances under which the complaint’s brother-in-law was ruled out of the crime after having been implicated in the first place.
The court also heard that the complaint’s brother-in-law had initially been labelled the scapegoat for the minor’s pregnancy at a family meeting last year in August before the rape accusations dramatically shifted to him.
At the August 2019 meeting, family members are also said to have highlighted that they suspected of the existence of a secret love affair between the complainant and her sister’s husband after they were, at one time, caught kissing in a car.
Quite suspiciously, the court heard, the teenage mother initially refused that she was pregnant and could also not name the father of her then unborn child despite a village health worker confirming otherwise after conducting a pregnancy btest using a test kit.
Despite the family having even gone to the extent of consulting a self-proclaimed prophet to pressure the minor girl into revealing the identity of the source of her pregnancy, this reportedly failed to bear dividends.
The teenage mother of one is currently staying with her sister and brother-in-law at their residence in resort Victoria Falls.
Additional Reporting: Zwnews