A self-styled prophet and Sungano raJehovah Apostolic Church leader in Buhera has been jailed for 15 years after being convicted of raping and impregnating a teenage congregant at his shrine, under the pretext of cleansing her of evil spirits.
Victor Chiminya (33), from Nyashanu Village, was jailed after being convicted of raping the 15-year-old girl on two separate occasions.
Chiminya is believed to have been employed in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development and stationed at Murambinda Growth Point.
Rusape magistrate Mr Livingstone Chipadza had initially jailed Chiminya for 18 years before setting aside three years of the sentence on condition that he does not commit a similar offence in the near future.
Chiminya’s sexual offence came to light after the teenager fell pregnant and revealed her ordeal to her parents.
He had denied the charges when he initially appeared in court, saying the girl manufactured the story as a result of “factionalism” that had rocked his church.
In denying the charges, Chiminya also told the court that a breakaway faction cooked the allegations in a bid to “fix” him.
Prosecutor Mr Tirivanhu Mutyasira, in aggravation, described Chiminya as a “wolf in sheep skin”.
“In sentencing the accused, I would like to urge the court to take judicial notice of the prevalence of rape cases involving bogus men of God who rape desperate and innocent women,” he said
Mr Mutyasira said on March 12 last year, the teenager, along with her parents, visited Chiminya’s homestead for prayers at around 10pm.
During the prayers, Chiminya allegedly prophesied that the girl had some evil spirits, which required the two to be intimate for her to be healed.
Mr Mutyasira said Chiminya then had sexual intercourse with the girl without her consent.
Chiminya threatened the teenager with death in the event that she revealed the sexual attack to anyone.
On May 14, 2017, members of the Sunguno raJehovah Apostolic Church held another church service at Chiminya’s homestead where he called congregants one-by-one into his room for prayers.
He also called the girl and said she was supposed to have sexual intercourse with him for her to be cleansed before raping her.
Sometime in August last year, the girl’s mother became suspicious that her daughter was pregnant and decided to take her to village elders for examination where it was discovered that she was pregnant.
She later revealed that Chiminya was responsible for the pregnancy.
Her parents took the matter to the police, leading to Chiminya’s arrest and subsequent appearance at Rusape Magistrates’ Court.