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Man Who Was Jailed 10 Years For Rape Meets the Woman Who Falsely Accused Him

Man Who Was Jailed 10 Years For Rape Meets the Woman Who Falsely Accused Him

During the nine years he spent in prison after being convicted of raping a minor, Simbarashe Chadiwa made it a point to start each day with a prayer. He would first thank God for the gift of life, despite his circumstances, and then seek guidance on how to navigate the challenges that led to his imprisonment.

Chadiwa, now 32, was among the beneficiaries of a recent amnesty announced by President Mnangagwa in celebration of the country’s 44th Independence Day. On April 19, he was one of the hundreds of inmates in various prisons who were pardoned and had the opportunity to reunite with their families.

However, Chadiwa’s case stands out as unique. A medical affidavit, compiled by a Government Medical Officer and included in the court files, stated that there was no penetration of the complainant, who is now 19. Despite this, the Gokwe Regional Magistrate’s Court sentenced Chadiwa to 20 years in prison, with two years suspended on the condition that he does not commit a similar offense.

The complainant, now battling her conscience, recently admitted that she was never raped and had pressed charges out of fear of her mother, who pressured her to do so. At the time, she was just 10 years old. This revelation has led Chadiwa to consider forgiving her. A week ago, they met, and the complainant extended an olive branch to Chadiwa.

Chadiwa’s ordeal is the kind of story that legal documentaries are made of. He said that he is still struggling to adjust to life outside prison, where he had spent a long time. He finds it difficult to get used to decent meals and normal social interactions.

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“My routine was all about following orders and sticking to strict timelines. Breakfast, which was a cup of porridge, was served at 8 a.m., lunch at noon, and supper at 2 p.m. After that, the day ended, and we went to sleep at 3 p.m.,” he said.

He is also not used to being called by his name, having been addressed by prison numbers for years. At Chikurubi, he was known as 1011/15; at Harare Central Prison, he was 1821; and at Whawha, he was Prisoner 1869/23.

Chadiwa, a father of one, saw his troubles begin in May 2015 when he was 23. He and a close friend would visit the friend’s girlfriend, who worked in Musimbe, Mbizo, Kwekwe. The girlfriend’s employer was in Botswana at the time, leaving her 10-year-old daughter in the maid’s care.

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When the employer returned, she had a dispute with the maid over the maid’s refusal to attend her church. The employer then fabricated allegations, brainwashing her daughter into accusing Chadiwa of rape. As someone who frequently visited the house, Chadiwa was accused.

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A police report was filed, and the child named him as the perpetrator, leading to his arrest on May 6, 2015.

“The allegations claimed that I had conspired with the maid to rape the child, and that the maid had devised a way to silence her. We were both arrested, but Beauty, the maid, was so traumatized that she was taken to the hospital. That was the last time I saw her,” Chadiwa added.

After his conviction and sentencing in Gokwe, Chadiwa was briefly detained at Whawha before being transferred to Chikurubi Maximum Prison. Currently, his elder brother Tapiwa is staying with him in Manyame Park, Chitungwiza, as they consider their next steps, including seeking legal redress to clear Chadiwa’s record.

“As a family, we are grateful he is out and alive. He needs a lot of rest and peace of mind, but we know a significant part of his life has been lost. We have spent a lot of money on appeals, and we will continue until we feel justice has been served,” said Tapiwa.

For comments, Feedback and Opinions do get in touch with our editor on WhatsApp: +27 82 836 5828

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