A 17-year-old- Bulawayo girl broke her silence a year after she was raped and given a $5 -bribe by one Madzibaba Simon Dabengwa, a  leader of Johanne Masowe Echishanu from Nkulumane suburb.

Appearing before Bulawayo magistrate Mafios Moyo, the 17 -year- old victim told the court that she was raped and given $5 -bribe before being threatened to death by Madzibaba Dabengwa

However, Dabengwa pleaded not guilty to the rape charge leveled against him arguing that he was in love with the victim

“We were madly in love as she is my girlfriend. I did not rape her, we had sex several times and she wanted it too,” said Dabengwa.

Prosecuting, Mr Simbarashe Manyiwa to the court that, in July 2018, Dabengwa invited the girl to wash his church garments sometime last year on a weekend, he then forced the victim into sleeping with him and threatened to curse her and kill her if she told anyone.

The minor, who feared for her life, did not tell anyone. Later she gathered courage and told her neighbor what happened but the neighbor accused her of lying.

The matter came to light when she asked her mother for permission to go on a holiday in Harare saying she was avoiding the prophet because he raped her.

The matter was reported to the police leading to Dabengwa’s arrest.

was remanded out of custody to July 14 for continuation of trial.

-State Media