Siqokoqela Mphoko, the son of former Zimbabwean Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for three counts of rape and two months for violating a court order. The sentence was handed down by Bulawayo Regional Magistrate Elijah Singano, who ruled that the victim’s constitutional rights had been violated during the crime.
Singano noted that rape is a serious offence that violates and demoralises the victim, and that offenders must be punished accordingly. Under the criminal law and codification act, courts should issue a sentence of life imprisonment or less for such an offence. Singano also pointed out that the age difference between Mphoko and the victim was three times, which showed his low morality.
Mphoko used threats of death to silence the victim, who had looked up to him as a father figure, and therefore violated the trust of the victim and her family. Singano added that the court had to act in the best interest of the child, and that many of the victim’s constitutional rights had been violated, including the right to privacy, good health, education, and dignity.
Mphoko’s lawyer, Zibusiso Ncube, argued in mitigation that his client should be given a lesser sentence because he has a medical condition. Ncube also requested that all three counts of rape should be treated as one during sentencing because they occurred in a short space of time and there were no specific dates. The prosecution argued that the victim is likely to suffer from psychological effects for the rest of her life.
The court ultimately agreed with the defence mitigation that all three counts should be treated as one during sentencing. Singano imposed a sentence of 20 years in prison for all three counts of rape and two months for violating a court order. The sentence cannot be further suspended as it would belittle the seriousness of the crime.