A Makoni senior teacher who allegedly sexually abused school pupils, including one who was in Grade Seven, has been suspended from work and has appeared before the Rusape Magistrate’s Court.
The Manica Post recently published that Benedict Mukwekwe was walking scot free after allegedly raping the minor on two separate occasions.
Manicaland’s Provincial Education Director, Mr Edward Shumba confirmed the suspension.
“The case was investigated, the member was charged and suspended. We also understand that the police did their investigations and the man was arrested and is now out on bail pending court proceedings,” said Mr Shumba.
Manicaland Police spokesperson, Inspector Nobert Muzondo also confirmed that the accused was arrested and appeared in court where he was remanded out of custody to June 12.
“The accused was arrested and we are informed that he was a senior teacher at the school. At the moment the crime was committed he was the acting headmaster. He was remanded out of custody to June 12,” said Inspector Muzondo.
He, however, could not divulge the exact charges that are being faced by the accused.
The victim, who cannot be named to protect her identity, lives with her widowed mother in Matedza Village, about 40km from Rusape’s central business district.
According to her, the first rape incident occurred in September last year.
“It first happened in September when l was in Grade Seven at Ringanayo Primary School. We were told to remain behind for revision work before our final exams.
“On my way home, I then realized that I was the last one to leave among my peers. As I was walking along the road, I unexpectedly saw Mukwekwe in front of me. He was smiling.
“He instructed me to stop and started dragging out of the road into the bush. He covered my mouth with his hand when I tried to call out for help. He did that while removing my clothes.
“He forced me to have sexual intercourse with him. After that, he promised to give me a dollar so that I would not tell anyone about the incident,” she said.
The learner, who completed her Grade Seven studies at the end of last year, said she did not divulge the matter to her mother as she wasn’t sure how she would react.
She said Mukwekwe raped her again when she went to collect her exam results at the school.
Her mother said: “I only discovered this issue when I suspected that my child was having pregnancy symptoms. I took her to the local Village Health Worker. She advised me to take her to the clinic but at the clinic they said she is not pregnant.
“I did not report this matter to the police because I told her uncles and I did not want to go ahead of them,” said the distraught woman.
From our news crew’s interactions with the community and teachers, it seems like the girl’s issue might be the tip of an iceberg as it was revealed that on different occasions, three parents tried to surrender their daughters to the teacher after he had sexually abused them.