Finally, the rape trial against Walter Magaya of Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) ministries which had stalled for a long time will now go ahead. This follows the striking off the roll of his challenge by the Constitutional Court. Magaya had challenged his indictment for trial at the High Court arguing he cannot be tried over a rape case where the complainant has voluntarily withdrawn the charges. A lot of legal technical jargon surrounded the case.
The supposed man of God Walter Magaya has faced a myriad of rape allegations from female congregants both substantiated and unsubstantiated.
In my view, it is utterly evil and treacherous for any woman to blackmail and threaten religious figures with damaging accusations for the sole reason that religious leader seek to protect their names from the prying eyes of the media and public. In the same vein, it is immensely wicked for supposed clerics to exercise influence over the weak of the society because they wield power. The stated two sides above precisely capture the DNA of the Magaya rape trial. There are two things involved and either one is going to come out true and the other false; there can’t be any other scenario. Precedent is at stake. Put simply: it’s either Magaya is guilty as previously alleged by the woman or she must face jail for telling malicious lies to the court.
Initially the complainant in the rape matter alleged that she was raped by Magaya in a case that weirdly did not surprise many. Cases of sexual misdemeanours against Magaya are common talk. What made the case of this girl curious was her determination initially to have justice done, even going to the extent of releasing recorded telephone conversations of their sexual escapades and places of meeting with the supposed prophet. The conversations went viral with the majority unmistakably identifying Magaya’s voice in the recordings.
Now that the young woman has withdrawn the grave rape charges against the cleric, it becomes even more of a conundrum. Not only did she withdraw the damning accusations, she has also openly told the courts that she made a false report to the police against Magaya. This on its own is deemed a serious offence under Zimbabwean criminal law. Section 180 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act, Chapter 9:23) clearly states that any person who supplies false information to a public authority shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a level 5 fine or imprisonment for a period of up to six months.
There is an apparent injustice, in my view, synonymous with the offence of making a false report to the police, especially in rape cases. One of the major purposes of law is to meet the ends of justice. Law must uphold that which is upright and condemn that which is base. Now here is the Zimbabwean scenario in this regard: where a woman makes false rape claim against a man, the very first thing under normal circumstances is for the accused to be locked straight away pending a court appearance. The worst part of a rape accusation is the stigma that comes with this tainting allegation. One does not even need to be a cleric to feel the intense societal disdain suffered by alleged and convicted rapists. However where a woman is convicted of making a false rape report at most they get away with a fine and hardly imprisonment.
It becomes overwhelmingly necessary in this matter for the courts to send a robust message that rape should never be used as a revenge instrument should this woman insist she lied against Magaya. It must be a strong message sent to all women that you can’t smear someone to get back to them by making such a weighty accusation. Like many have pointed out; either one of the two; Magaya or the woman must face jail. If the courts fail in this regard then surely people must ask how justice is defined in the courts of Zimbabwe.
It should honestly be either one of the two so that justice is seen to have been carried out in the matter. If the woman had successfully lied, Magaya faced a lengthy imprisonment term and a possible collapse of his church, not to mention him being away from his family. The impact would have been huge on Magaya
It is therefore baffling, totally shocking that the police would, up to this time, not have opened a docket against a self-confessing criminal in the form of this woman somersaulting to say she lied against a public figure. To an extent, if it be true that the woman had lied, Magaya has already suffered public condemnation on the basis of the allegations. It is indeed true that Zimbabwe cannot talk of a justice system if nothing signalling justice is seen in this case. Magaya has faced all manner of rape allegations from women within his church yet not even a single arrest has been made for making a false report against these women. This fact is very telling.
Surely, if our courts are worth the name, then a just and upright precedent must be set. It has to be either one goes scot free or the other is incarcerated. Precedent is at stake. – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org