Father Of 9-year-old Tsholotsho Girl Has Been Released From Prison
The father of the nine-year-old girl from Tsholotsho who gave birth in November said that he is eager to see his daughter, the one he was accused of impregnating.
Speaking in an interview with The Sunday News on Friday, the 29-year-old man said this would bring closure and peace to his soul.
The man said he does not have the money to travel from Tsholotsho to Bulawayo to the safe house where she is being kept.
After his daughter was taken to a safe house, the minor allegedly told authorities that her father told her that a goblin would come and insert something into her privates.
But the father gave a different version of the goblin issue, saying it was a prophetess who made the claims. He said:
Our child was ill since October 2020 and she was assisted by a prophetess who was known by my wife who prayed for her.
She had started developing breasts at seven years old and the prophetess said my daughter was being used by a goblin that was having sexual intercourse with her.
My wife and her mother, that is my mother-in-law are the ones who went to visit the prophetess and stayed there for two weeks.
When she returned home, they were informed that the child was not supposed to enter the homestead until the “spell” cast upon her was removed, the man explained.
He said the girl then went to live at her maternal grandparents’ home for a year.
She returned home in November last year and they were informed that she was now menstruating.
The father said the girl’s mother and her maternal grandmother visited yet another healer who said the menstruation could not be stopped.
When her stomach started bulging the parents never panicked as the prophetess had told them that the stomach was “full of dirt” as a result of having sex with the goblin.
The man said the experiences affected her daughter’s performance at school as her grades had dropped. He said:
We were summoned by the school teacher who said my daughter’s grades had dropped dismally and she also prayed for our daughter.
The menstruation stopped and it was assumed the prayers were now effective yet the child was pregnant.
She, however, complained of stomach pains and was taken to the local clinic and eventually to Tsholotsho District Hospital where it was confirmed that she was over six months pregnant and the matter was referred to the police.
At the police station, we were told we had to be questioned individually about what was happening to the child and I assumed it was all in order.
I was not questioned but I was simply handcuffed and accused of raping my daughter and impregnating her.
I was shocked. One police officer scoffed at me and said ngiluthango oluzidlele amakhomane.
The father initially appeared at the Tsholotsho Magistrate Courts to answer to rape charges on 1 September 2022 and was remanded to 15 November.
After his appearance in court, the father said he requested DNA tests to be conducted in a bid to gain his freedom. He said:
They told me it was too expensive and I could not afford it and I told them that was the only way I was going to be exonerated because I did not want to die in prison. I also failed to secure bail during that period.
Around 23 November 2022, I was then informed that I would get a DNA test. I also asked that the four other males who lived with us at home also be tested as they equally had access to my child and that was done.
He was summoned to court on 29 November and the magistrate told him that the State had done their investigations and proved that he was not guilty of rape and impregnating his child as DNA results had come out negative.
However, this verdict was opposed by a prosecutor who said the case must be transferred to the Bulawayo Regional Courts.
Even though the magistrate queried this, the father was still transferred where he was held at Khami Remand Prison.
On 8 December he appeared in court in Bulawayo and was told to return on 15 December. He said:
I went to court and was told that my record was nowhere to be found both in Tsholotsho and Bulawayo courts and should return on 19 December. I lost it.
I was very disturbed and had given up on myself, I assumed I had another new case to answer.
Later, on the same day, I was finally discharged. They told me that I was not guilty of the count of rape and that I was a free man.
I blacked out, I could not believe it, after a moment light shone in my eyes and I could see clearly.
I failed to walk; I was still in leg irons. It was a great relief.
The father was finally released from Khami Prison on Tuesday 20 December.
The man, who is a builder, said he has lost all the jobs he had been contracted to do in the village.