Former Vice President (VP) Phelekezela Mphoko’s son, Siqokoqela, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for three rape charges and two months for disobeying a court order.
The ruling was made by Bulawayo Regional Magistrate Elijah Singano, who determined that the victim’s constitutional rights were violated during the assaults. Singano said while delivering his ruling:
Rape remains an extremely serious offence and offenders must be punished. It violates and demoralises the victim. The criminal law and codification act stipulates that for an offence such as rape the courts should issue a sentence of life imprisonment or less.
Magistrate Singano noted that the age gap between Mphoko and the victim was significant, indicating his lack of morality. Siqokoqela threatened the victim with death if she disclosed the rape, and as she lived in his house, she trusted him as a father figure, which he violated.
Singano emphasized that the court must act in the child’s best interests, as the victim’s constitutional rights to privacy, good health, education, and dignity were all violated, with long-lasting effects on the minor.
Magistrate Singano agreed that all three rape counts should be treated as one. He ruled that sentencing Mphoko to 30 years for each count would be too harsh, so he imposed an effective sentence of 20 years for all three counts, plus two months for contravening a court order.
Mphoko’s lawyer argued for a lesser sentence due to his client’s medical condition and family situation. The prosecutor argued that the victim would suffer lifelong psychological effects from the assault and that Mphoko violated her right to privacy.
Siqokoqela was arrested in August last year. Following his arrest, Siqokoqela Mphoko, who introduced himself as a praying, God-fearing, and family man, fled from police custody.
He later announced that he fled from the police station because he felt the investigation was unfair and influenced by outside forces. He said he was handing himself to the police because he believes in the judiciary system. He thanked his supporters and asked for their prayers.