By Staff Reporter
Siqokoqela, a 44-year-old individual and son of the late President Robert Mugabe’s successor, former Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, has been given an effective 20-year prison sentence for the rape of a family member.
Bulawayo Regional Magistrate Elijah Singano delivered the verdict, stating that Mphoko had assaulted the young victim on three separate occasions, using threats of harm to coerce her into silence.
Magistrate Singano emphasized the gravity of rape as an extremely serious offense that necessitates severe punishment.
He acknowledged the profound violation and demoralization experienced by the victim, remarking that the criminal law and codification act mandates a sentence of life imprisonment or less for such offenses.
Singano also recognized the various constitutional rights that had been violated in this case, including the right to privacy, good health, education, and dignity, emphasizing the long-lasting impact of these violations on the minor.
“The accused abused the trust placed in him by the victim and her family, as she viewed him as a father figure while residing in his household. Given the best interest of the child, the court must act accordingly. Considering that the offenses were committed against the same victim within a short span of time, sentencing the accused to 30 years for each count would be unduly harsh. Therefore, the court has decided to impose an effective 20-year imprisonment for all three counts. Regrettably, the court cannot further suspend this sentence, as it would undermine the gravity of this serious crime,” Magistrate Singano explained.
Magistrate Singano concluded by stating that Mphoko would serve an effective 20-year prison sentence for counts one to three, with an additional two months for count four, to be served concurrently with the previous counts.
During the mitigation phase, Mphoko’s lawyer, Zibusiso Ncube, argued for a reduced sentence on the basis of his client’s medical condition.
Ncube highlighted that Mphoko, aged 44, required regular medical attention and had a young family, including a 13-year-old biological daughter, a 12-year-old son, and an adopted daughter named Sinikiwe Masiye.
Ncube also urged the court to consider the proximity of the rape charges and their lack of specific dates, suggesting that they be treated as a single offense during sentencing.