A 26-YEAR-OLD soldier with the Zimbabwe National Army who is also a self-proclaimed prophet has been sentenced to 15 years in jail for raping an eight-year-old congregant.
The court heard the prophet threatened to kill the child if she revealed the sex attack to anyone.
Clayton Nkala who pleaded not guilty to a rape charge was convicted due to overwhelming evidence.
Bulawayo Regional Magistrate Mr Chrispen Mberewere sentenced Nkala to 15 years in jail.
Nkala will however serve an effective 10 years in prison after five years were suspended on condition of good behaviour.
Nkala's wife wailed when the magistrate read out the sentence.
The court heard that Nkala - whose church was not named in court - pounced on the minor who was picking tins at a nearby dumping site with her younger sister and dragged her into a nearby bush where he raped her once.
The abuse came to light the following day after the minor's mother found blood stains on her panties while she was doing laundry.
The woman told the court she called Nkala and a church elder narrating to them the tragedy that had befallen her daughter.
"The church elder suggested that we report the matter to the police. Nkala refused to come with us. Instead he instructed the elder to wipe off some blood from my child's privates and give it to him so that he could pray over it. He said this would assist in catching the culprit," said the mother.
She added: "The first time we asked my child she only described the perpetrator by the clothes he was wearing.
"A week later she confessed to the church elder that Nkala had raped her."
Nkala challenged the witnesses saying he was being framed because the minor only revealed that he was the perpetrator a week after the attack.
"If she was really sure of who had attacked her she wouldn't have lied. She described her perpetrator by his clothes.
|Pastor Jailed 15 Years For Raping 8 Year Old Congregant|
The church elder testified that the minor approached her and confessed that Nkala raped her.
She told the court that Nkala insisted that the minor leads them to the scene where she was raped in her mother's absence.
"The first time we interviewed her, we suggested that we should go to the police. Her mother said she wanted to go back home and collect a jersey for the minor because it was getting cold. While her mother was gone, Nkala insisted that the minor leads us to where she had been raped," said the elder.
She said Nkala refused to accompany them to the police and instructed them to call him with an update of what would have transpired at the police station.
Prosecuting, Mr Simbarashe Manyiwa told the court that on April 1 last year, at 3PM Nkala raped the minor.
"Accused dragged complainant into a nearby bush. He covered her mouth with his hand and threatened to kill her if she screamed. Complainant's mother noticed blood stains on her panties when she was doing laundry the following day," said Mr Manyiwa.
He said she told a church elder who confirmed that the minor had been raped and they called Nkala to help them before they reported the matter to the police.