A man who in 2004 had a sexual relationship with his sister’s daughter who was aged 15 at that time recently approached Chief Makoni’s court to confess after facing several misfortunes in his life.
Weston Mugocha of Muchekabuwe Village wore a brave face as he narrated the shameful deeds he committed 18 years ago when he was 32 years old.
His niece (name supplied) was only 15 at the time.
Mugocha said he thought the matter had died a natural death, only to be told by a traditional healer that he needed to be cleansed first before the other issues haunting him could be addressed.
“Some years ago I committed an abomination. I don’t know what got into me. I slept with my sister’s daughter. I am appearing before this court to own up to my evil deeds.
“I was experiencing some misfortune in my life and last year I approached a traditional healer in Harare. I was told that the endless misfortunes were a result of the incest with my niece. The traditional healer advised me to come and confess before this court and seek guidance on how to settle this matter.
“Both families have agreed that this matter must be brought to finality and I am going to foot all the expenses. I have already secured a white beast for the cleansing ceremony,” said a remorseful Mugocha.
Testifying before the court, the woman said she consented to the sexual act.
“This shameful act happened in 2004 when I was 15 years. I was not raped by my uncle, but he just took advantage of my youthfulness to lure me into the sexual relationship. We were in love and he is the one who broke my virginity,” she said.
In Zimbabwe, having sexual intercourse with a minor is illegal, even if they would have consented to the act.
The crime is regarded as statutory rape.
In addition to this, having a sexual relationship within a prohibited level of relationship (incest) is also a crime in the country.
In his ruling, Chief Makoni ordered Mugocha to provide a pure white beast that will be slaughtered for a cleansing ceremony (cheka ukama) and one beast as fine for the court.
For breaking his niece’s virginity, he was ordered to pay her one beast (mombe yechimanda).
Mugocha will also foot all the expenses related to the case and the cleansing ceremony.
“Incest is a very serious offence which brings bad omen to the perpetrators and their families. It also tears families apart.
“After the beast is slaughtered, Mugocha’s mother and the victim’s mother will get the back portion (musana). The fathers (madzisekuru) will get the shoulder (bandauko). The headmen who will supervise the ceremony will be given the brisket (chityu).
“All the meat must be consumed on the same day. The people gathered there must be told the reason for the feast. Mugocha and your niece should be present, but they are not allowed to eat the meat. They have to watch as others feast. There will be no beer consumption as this is not a celebration. A traditional healer should also be present,” explained Chief Makoni.