A BISHOP at the Church Ways of Salvation Apostolic in Bulawayo has been sentenced to 21 years in prison for raping his daughter while telling her he had been instructed to do so by the Holy Spirit.
The bishop (49), a father of six started raping his daughter when she was 14 years old after she had been raped by a neighbour. He would tell the now 19-year-old that she was “extremely beautiful” but he could not marry her as she was his daughter.
The bishop pleaded guilty to three counts of rape and indecent assault.
He blamed the devil for his actions.
“It was not out of my own will, but it was the work of the devil,” he said.
In passing sentence, Bulawayo regional magistrate Mrs Sibongile Msipa-Marondedze said what aggravated the offence was that the man was the girl’s biological father and instead of protecting her he abused his child.
The magistrate said the man turned his own daughter into his sex slave when he was a bishop and “a man of God” who was supposed to lead by example.
“The accused person’s blameworthiness is very high due to the fact that he is the complainant’s biological father. Accused person is a danger to the society and to himself. People like him should be taken out of the community and be jailed for a long time,” she said.
The magistrate sentenced him to 20 years in prison for rape and one year for indecent assault.
Four years were suspended on condition that he does not repeat similar offences in the next five years.
He will serve an effective 17 years behind bars.
Prosecuting, Mr Robin Mukura said in 2013 the teenager wrote a message on her cellphone to Sis’ Noe (a newspaper columnist) seeking advice on what to do after she was raped by her neighbour whom she took as a brother.
“The teenager’s father saw the message, asked the girl about it and she confirmed that she had been raped. The man advised his daughter to keep the matter a secret,” he said.
The prosecutor said in August the same year, when his wife was away, the man called the girl into his bedroom. He told her that he did not want to rape her but the Holy Spirit had sent him to do so and the child believed him.
“He assured the girl that he would not impregnate her and raped her. After the rape, he slept with his daughter the whole night,” Mr Mukura said.
“On another day, the man brought wine and orange panties, asked the girl to join him in his bedroom and raped her again. On a different day, the man raped his daughter and promised to buy her a laptop. He showed her $100 which was in his EcoCash account but never gave her the money.
“The man continued to fondle his daughter’s breasts, buttocks and rubbed his private parts against her buttocks from 2015 till last month.”
In February, this year the teenager told her friend about her problem but asked her to keep the matter a secret. On May 19, she finally opened up to her friend’s mother and the matter was reported to the police. —