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Birth certificate nails statutory rapist

19 Nov, 2021 - 00:11 0 Views
Birth certificate nails statutory rapist Laimon Mwembe

B-Metro

AN inmate serving a 20-year jail term at Khami Maximum Prison for statutory rape has thanked the management of Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS), Bulawayo Metropolitan Province for affording him an opportunity to further his education in prison.

In an interview, Laimon Mwembe (34) said imprisonment gave him an opportunity to get educated as he had dropped out of school at Grade 7 due to financial challenges that were being experienced by his family.

“I was convicted of statutory rape in 2013 and when this judgment was passed at first I told myself that I was not going to make it. But when I got here I discovered that people were not telling the truth on what really happens behind these walls.

“Instead of being harassed by the prison officers, they actually offered me some counselling sessions such that they even recommended that I pursue my education while in prison as I openly told them that I had dropped out of school,” he said.

Mwembe said soon after dropping out of school, some of his family members suggested that he relocates to Bulawayo in search of greener pastures as his family really needed his financial support to take care of his siblings.

“Soon after dropping out of school in 2010, my father spoke to one of my cousin brothers, who was already established in the City of Kings to accommodate me as I was still job hunting.

“My cousin brother actually spoke to his bosses and an arrangement was made to create a post for me as one of the general hands at the factory as I was not a specialist in any particular area,” he said.

The inmate said he stayed with his cousin for more than a year then he decided to look for his own place as he felt it was high time he stayed alone.

“When I moved out from my cousin’s place my intention was to have a place of my own that could accommodate my siblings that I had left in Binga as my parents were struggling to care of them due to financial problems.

“I started dating a woman who was from the same neighbourhood and this was my first relationship such that I ended up promising to marry her because of what I experienced while we were dating,” he said.

Mwembe said after one year of dating he discovered that his girlfriend was cheating on him so he dumped her.

“This decision did not go down well with my girlfriend, who later started sending me threatening messages, telling me she will get me arrested,” he said.

She lived up to her word as she accused him of rape.

“When I met this girl for the first time she told me that she was above the age of 18 and her body size was big such that you would not suspect that she was below the age of 16.

“The issue only came to light after we broke up as she told her parents that I had taken advantage of her. The parents of the child went to the police to report the matter leading to my arrest,” he said.

The girl’s birth certificate showed that Mwembe had bedded a 15-year-old girl.

“When the issue was taken to court it was explained to me that an under 16 year child does not have the right to consent for sex. The birth certificate was produced and it nailed me and I was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

“When the sentence was passed at first I thought I was dreaming as 20 years was rather too much for me and I never thought I was going to push this far and as we speak I am left with twelve years to go,” he said.

The inmate said life was not easy as he was under a lot of stress as his family had been seriously affected by his arrest as he was the breadwinner.

“When I got into my first relationship I never thought I was already committing a crime and if only I had known I could have avoided this young lady as it seems she was on a mission.

“While at Khami Maximum Prison I went through a number of counselling sessions and this really helped me a lot to accept my situation. During that same period I was urged by rehabilitation officers to pursue my education and as we speak I will be sitting for my Ordinary Level examinations this year,” he said.

The inmate said besides furthering his education he is a member of a gospel group called Voice of Praise.

“I am a member of a gospel group called Voice of Praise and we are really doing well even though we are behind the walls. As we speak we recorded an album and it was later launched with the assistance of a local church called Anchor of Christ.

“This group has kept us busy and this really helps us in terms of relieving us from stress as inmates, who are serving for different crimes. But overall I would like to thank the management of ZPCS for affording me an opportunity to learn while in prison and as we speak I can now read and write.

“I know this will assist me in a long way to avoid committing such crimes because of illiteracy,” he said.

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