Siqokoqela Mphoko, son of former Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, has been handed a 20-year prison sentence for three counts of rape.
Additionally, he was given a concurrent two-month sentence for violating a court order.
The ruling was made by Bulawayo Regional Magistrate Elijah Singano, who stated that the victim’s constitutional rights had been violated.
Singano emphasized the severity of rape and the need for punishment, as it violates and demoralizes the victim. The law calls for a sentence of life imprisonment or less for such offenses.
The age difference between Mphoko and the victim was three times, demonstrating the former’s low morality.
Mphoko had threatened the victim with death if she revealed the matter to anyone. As the complainant had looked up to Mphoko as a father figure, he betrayed her trust, violating the rights of both the victim and her family..
Singano noted that the court must act in the best interests of the child, and many of the victim’s constitutional rights were violated, including privacy, good health, education, and dignity. Singano agreed with the defense’s request to treat all three counts as one for sentencing.
He imposed a 20-year sentence for all three counts, with a concurrent two-month sentence for violating the court order.
“Lawfully each count of rape is equal to 10 years in prison and sentencing the accused 30 years for each count will be on the harsh side considering that it is the same victim and in a short space of time. The court is inclined to impose 20 years of imprisonment for all three counts and unfortunately, the court cannot further suspend this sentence as it will be taken for belittling this serious crime. The accused is therefore sentenced to an effective 20 years in prison for count one to three and two months for count four which will be served concurrently with the previous counts,” Singano ruled.
Mphoko’s lawyer argued for a reduced sentence, citing his medical condition and family obligations. He had an immovable property, including a house and cars, and a young family. The prosecutor argued that the victim would suffer psychological consequences for life.