MAN, WHO SPENT NINE YEARS IN PRISON FOR RAPE, MEETS THE WOMAN WHO SENT HIM TO JAIL . . . She asks for forgiveness, saying she was forced to implicate him . . . Simbarashe exploring ways to adjust to life outside prison walls

Gilbert Munetsi 

IN the nine years he spent in prison after being convicted for the rape of a minor, Simbarashe Chadiwa made it a point to always start his day with a prayer. 

First, he thanked God for the gift of life, despite his circumstances, and would then seek divine counsel for the best ways to navigate the stormy waters that saw him being dragged into prison.

Chadiwa (32) was among  beneficiaries of the recent amnesty announced by President Mnangagwa in commemoration of the country’s 44th Independence celebrations. 

On April 19, this year, he was one of  the hundreds of inmates, in different prisons, who benefited from the pardon and had the privilege to reunite with his family.

But, unlike the others, his case is unique.

H-Metro has been told that a medical affidavit, a copy of which is in the court files, was compiled by a Government Medical Officer and stated that there was no penetration on the complainant, who is now 19.

However, Chadiwa was still sentenced to 20 years in prison by the Gokwe Regional Magistrate’s Court, with two years set being aside, on condition that he does not commit a similar offence.

However, the complainant, who has been battling her conscience, has since come out to confess that she was never raped but pressed the charges out of fear of her mother, who pressurised her to do so. 

The fact that she was just 10, when she pressed the charges, has since made Chadiwa contemplate forgiving her.

A week ago, the two met for the extension of an olive branch by the complainant to Chadiwa. 

Chadiwa’s predicament is the stuff that makes legal documentaries. 

He told H-Metro he is still struggling to adjust to life outside the walls of prison cells that had become home for him for a long time. 

He still finds it difficult to adjust to decent meals and visibly shows it will take some time before he can embrace social life. 

“My routine was one of taking orders and sticking to prescribed time-lines. Breakfast, in the form of a cup of porridge, was served at 8am, lunch at 12 noon and supper at 2pm. 

“After that, the day was concluded and we would retire to sleep at 3pm,” he said.

He is yet to get used to people calling him by his name, a departure from the prison numbers wardens address inmates by. 

At Chikurubi his tag was 1011/15, at Harare Central Prison it was 1821 and at Whawha he became known as Prisoner 1869/23. 

He is a father of one and his woes date back to May 2015.

He was 23.

Together with a close friend, they would visit the latter’s girlfriend, who worked in an area called Musimbe in Mbizo, Kwekwe. 

“As a bosom buddy, I would accompany him on the occasional visits to see his girlfriend, taking advantage of the absence of her employer, who at that time was in Botswana,” said Chadiwa. 

At that time, the employer had left her then 10-year old daughter in the maid’s custody. 

“And it so happened that when the employer returned, she had a misunderstanding with her employee over what we learnt was the refusal by the maid to attend the church of her boss’ choice. 

“That is when the employer fabricated allegations and brainwashed her daughter to allege she had been raped during her mother’s absence. 

“As someone who used to visit the house with my friend, I became the victim. 

“A report was made to police and the child mentioned me by name as the perpetrator, leading to my arrest on May 6, 2015.”

He added: 

“The allegations were to the effect that I had connived with the maid to rape the child, after which the domestic worker had formulated a way to silence her. 

“We were both arrested but Beauty, the maid, was so traumatised that it was recommended she be taken to hospital. 

“That was the last time I saw her.” 

Chadiwa was briefly detained at Whawha, awaiting transfer to Chikurubi Maximum Prison, after he was convicted and sentenced in Gokwe. 

His elder brother, Tapiwa, is currently staying with him in Manyame Park, Chitungwiza, while he contemplates the way forward. 

This includes seeking some form of legal redress and ensuring Simbarashe’s tainted record is rectified. 

“As a family, we are happy that he is out and alive. The man needs a lot of rest and peace of mind, but we reckon a good part of his life has been washed down the drain. 

“We have lost considerable financial resources making appeals and we will soldier on until we feel justice has been carried out,” said Tapiwa.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *