HARARE West MP and MDC-T shadow minister for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Jessie Majome has expressed concern at the “light sentences” that local courts continue to impose on rape convicts despite provisions of the law that empower them to sentence rapists for up to 25 years per count.
Majome made the remarks following two cases in which a serial rapist was jailed for 60 years after he was convicted on three counts of rape and another Hurungwe man who was sentenced to 35 years for raping his 11-year-old daughter twice.
“This is one of the reasons why I moved the motion on gender-based violence,” Majome said.
“Here are horrendous stories of two rapists who were given light sentences, given the fact that the Criminal Code already allows up to a life sentence per count, and a regional magistrate can sentence up to 25 years per count.”
Majome also expressed concern at the low rate of reported cases of rape.
“Only a small percentage of rapes is ever reported and only 33% of those ever get convictions. The grim irony of this is that because of the lower limit for penalties set by the Stock Theft Act, a cattle rustler will get a stiffer sentence of between nine and 20 years,” she said.
She lambasted traditional healers and “prophets” who goaded men to rape minors — including their own children — for ritual purposes.
Majome in February this year moved a motion calling for the introduction of a mandatory stiff sentence of 30 years and above for rapists and perpetrators of
Under the motion, Majome urged the government to provide adequate forensic rape investigation facilities at police stations and to speedily implement the National Gender-Based Violence Strategy (2012-2015).