A church elder with ZAOGA from Chiundura was yesterday convicted on three counts of rape and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for raping his then 13-year-old daughter on three occasions.

The church leader, 53, of Chinamasa Village under Chief Gambiza who cannot be named to protect his minor victim, first raped his daughter in September 2011 twice and once in January this year.

He appeared on Friday before Gweru Regional Magistrate Morgan Nemadire and was sentenced to 12 years in jail.

Nemadire suspended three years of the sentence on condition of good behaviour.

The churchman is the biological father to the complainant who is now 16 and doing Form 3 at a school in Chiundura.

He was staying with the girl after the death of his wife, the girl's mother.

For the state Ndamukaneyi Chikuni told the court that sometime in September 2011 on an unknown date the church elder approached the complainant who was in her bedroom cleaning and told her that he wanted to have sexual intercourse with her.

Chikuni said the complainant refused but the father forcibly pushed the complainant to the bed and raped her once.

The court heard that the girl did not reveal the matter to anyone after her father threatened to kill her.

Chikuni said on an unknown date again in the month of September the same year at around 10PM, the church elder who was undressed, went to his daughter's room where he found her asleep.

She said without a word, he pinned her down and raped her once.

Chikuni said the complainant again bore her torture silently as she could not tell anyone about the incident fearing for her life.

The court also heard that in January this year at around 3.30PM, the complainant went to her father's bedroom to collect her clothes.

The father was in the bedroom.

Chikuni said when the girl was about to get out of the room, her father got hold of her arm and dragged her to his bed and raped her once without protection.

The matter came to light on August 4 this year when the complainant narrated her ordeal to the school clerk who then notified the school headmistress.

The head interviewed the girl who confessed everything and a report was made to the police leading to the arrest of the father.

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