THE mother of a minor, who was allegedly raped by suspended MDC-T spokesperson Khaliphani Phugeni on Monday denied claims that she wanted to “politically soil” his image after he was nominated for Senate.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
Phugeni appeared before Western Commonage regional magistrate Sibongile Msipa-Marondedze for continuation of trial for the crime he allegedly committed between June and November 2018 in Emhlangeni and Magwegwe suburbs in Bulawayo.
He denies the charges as defined under section 65 of the Criminal Law, (Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9:23.
The complainant’s mother said she informed politicians such as Lovemore Moyo, the United Movement for Devolution leader, and ousted MDC-T organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe, as she wanted to resolve the matter politically.
“(Lovemore) Moyo is my party president and I wanted Moyo to engage Phugeni on this matter at a political level,” the complainant’s mother said when she was being cross-examined by Phugeni’s lawyer Kholwani Ngwenya.
“(Abednico) Bhebhe is my cousin and I did not want him to hear about the matter through the Press or rumours.”
Ngwenya had asked why she took a political route to solve a criminal matter, adding that this fuelled suspicion that she sought to soil Phugeni’s image after he was nominated for Senate.
“I am only after justice for my daughter.
“It is just coincidence as it is also the same time my daughter opened up for the first time.
Phugeni snubbed family meetings to discuss the matter,” the complainant’s mother added.
The woman cannot be named for ethical reasons to protect the identity of the minor.
According to the mother, her daughter suffered depression after the rape ordeal resulting in her turning to intoxicating substances to numb the pain.
“Her behaviour changed — sleeping out and getting drunk. She would refuse to disclose what was going on except to say ‘my problems are piling up’.
“She disclosed the rape ordeal after I threatened to beat her up for untoward behaviour,” the mother said.
The magistrate remanded Phugeni to December 7.
Phugeni has been removed from the position of spokesperson for the MDC-T following the rape charges.