Zimdef manager jailed for sexual assault

Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) manager Leonard Rwambiwa was yesterday slapped with a three-month jail term for fondling his female subordinate in his office.

BY CHARLES LAITON

Rwambiwa (43) will, however, not do time behind bars after Harare magistrate Yeukai Chigodora wholly suspended the prison term and ordered him to pay $1 000 fine instead.

It was the State’s case that the complainant in the matter, who is a married woman, was at the Zimdef offices on July 9, 2019 in the morning when Rwambiwa summoned and requested her to prepare tea for him as it was part of her duties.

The court heard that after preparing the tea, she took it to Rwambiwa’s office and as she was about to leave the room, Rwambiwa grabbed her from behind before fondling her backside without her
consent.

At that particular moment, the woman did not report the matter, but later confided to her workmate.

After gathering enough courage, the woman then reported the incident to yet another workmate, who, in turn, confronted Rwambiwa, but he denied the allegation.

The matter was eventually reported to the police, leading to Rwambiwa’s arrest. In her judgment, Chigodora said the State led damning and incriminating evidence against Rwambiwa, adding that he never led any evidence and never called his witness to discredit the evidence of the sexually assaulted woman.

The magistrate further said “all the State witnesses were corroborated in their evidence” and that the court had found that there was overwhelming evidence against Rwambiwa.

“The crime of indecent assault should not be taken lightly. It is aggravating and there is a lot of stigma associated with such offences, especially when it involves a married woman. Once this happens at a workplace, it now becomes an issue of sexual harassment,” the magistrate said before imposing the three-month jail term.

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