AS child rights campaigners intensify efforts to eradicate early child marriages, a 43-year-old Murehwa man is alleged to have enticed and convinced an 11-year-old girl to desert her grandmother's home and move in with him.
According to the Constitution, any person who indulges in sexual intercourse with a girl below the age of 12 is presumed to have raped the minor despite her consent to the act.
The suspected rapist, Andrew Musekiwa, yesterday appeared before High Court judge Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo, seeking to be remanded out of custody on a rape charge.
He was eventually granted $200 bail although State counsel Benson Taruvinga had strongly opposed it on the basis that Musekiwa was facing a very serious charge and was a flight risk.
As part of his bail conditions, Musekiwa was ordered to reside at his village until finalisation of the matter, not to interfere with witnesses and to report every Friday at his nearest police station.
Allegations against Musekiwa are that sometime in 2012, he sexually abused the girl who at the time was doing Grade 3 at a local school.
Musekiwa is alleged to have started his sexual moves on the minor on a day when her grandmother sent her to collect some fish from him.
It is alleged that he proposed love to her, but she turned him down.
The girl, however, reported the matter to her grandmother, but the latter allegedly ordered her to remain tight-lipped.
The following day Musekiwa followed the girl to their vegetable gardens where he assisted her to pick up bananas before he fondled her budding breasts.
The State alleges that the girl protested and went on to report the matter to her granny who again ordered her to keep the matter under wraps.
Musekiwa later had sexual intercourse with the minor at different intervals from August of the same year until April last year when he took his alleged new wife to his rural home in Murehwa. When they got home, Musekiwa's wife protested against his move and chased them away.
Musekiwa then moved the girl to Musami where he stayed with her for several days before going back to Murehwa where he was eventually arrested after the girl's grandmother made a missing person report to police.