Grandfathers arrested on suspicion of raping minors aged 3 and 13
At a time when the nation is reeling in despair following a spate of violent attacks against women and the girl child, a pair of Nkange elders have been remanded in custody accused of defiling two girls, aged three and 13.
Looking frail and confused, 58-year-old Kebashile Bautu and Salang Emang, 61, were shackled together when they appeared before Masunga Magistrates Court on Wednesday.
Bautu is accused of raping a 13-year-old girl on 13th of August in Nkange, a small village located in the heart of the Central District.
Taking to the witness box, the grey haired Bautu wasted no time in admitting his guilt and profusely apologised to court for his offence.
“I ask for forgiveness Your Worship. I plead for mercy because this was my first time to commit such a crime,” he stammered, his voice shaking with nerves.
However, the married father’s remorse failed to move presiding Magistrate Segametsi Basinyi, who responded, “Does that make it any better, that it’s your first time?”
The old man, who seemed oblivious to the magnitude of the crime he was being accused of, sent court into fits of laughter with his jumbled confession.
“I don’t know what led me to do this. I slept with her and I ask for the court’s forgiveness,” he said, before requesting bail.
“May I be allowed to go back home to my wife,” he pleaded.
Magistrate Basinyi, who reminded Bautu to be careful not to incriminate himself as he was not yet on trial, voiced her annoyance that the Investigating Officer was not in court to attend to issues raised by Senior Public Prosecutor, Sergeant Paphidzo Kuda.
“We cannot release you to go back to intimidate the victim, that is why your bail application can only be listened to in the presence of the Investigating Officer, who should speak to concerns raised by Prosecutor Kuda,” explained Basinyi before ordering that the accused be remanded in custody.
Next in the witness box was a shaky Emang, who is accused of raping a three-year-old distant family member on 10th August in Nkange.
However, unlike Bautu, an agitated Emang protested his innocence.
Emang told court he was being wrongfully accused and explained that on the fateful Friday he went out to kraal his goats, carrying his young relative with him.
“When we got to the kraal, I saw an old woman and that is when I put the girl down and sent her behind the kraal to help me with goats,” the old man said, again to the amusement of the packed court.
He said on Saturday his wife asked him what he had done.
“I was shocked and asked her what she meant. She then told me that I was accused of raping the little girl, of which I denied.
“How could I rape such a young child?” Emang queried quietly, looking desperately at the young Magistrate charged with deciding his immediate fate.
“I honestly can’t make out what you are saying. You are talking about an old woman at the kraal and I don’t know how that is relevant to this matter,” was Magistrate Basinyi’s blunt response.
Prosecutor Kuda told court that the victim is still receiving medical attention and that their investigations are continuing.
Both matters will be back in court on Monday.