The trial of Goodness and Mercy Ministries Church leader Prophet Tapiwa Freddy on rap_e charges continued yesterday with Chief Chikwaka (Murambiwa Witness Bungu), yesterday describing in court how his niece had reacted after the first alleged assault.
He told the court that his niece told him that Freddy “succumbed to nature” and forced himself on her on their return from her rural home in Chiendambuya.
Chief Chikwakwa said his niece was crying on the other end of the phone when she reported the alleged incident.
He told the court that his niece said Freddy promised to marry her.
“There are many issues, but he forced my niece to be intimate with him. My niece called me and she was crying. She failed to clearly explain her case. I asked her why she was crying and she told me that Freddy had taken her as a wife. I asked what caused the prophet to do that and she said Freddy had accompanied her to her rural area in Chiendambuya.
“She told me that she was overpowered because of her other amputated hand. I asked her if she had reported to the police and she said ‘No.’ She indicated that it occurred on the previous night and I advised her to report the matter to police. She promised that she was going to report.”
Chief Chikwaka said he made a follow up on whether she had taken the matter to the police, only to find out that his niece was already in love with Freddy. He said his niece later told him that Freddy was proposing love to her and she was also bound to fall in love with him, but at a later stage.
“She said she was going to accept his proposal. She told me that he had apologised after the rap_e incident because he was overcome by nature, which resulted in forced intimacy.
“She said he promised to marry her. I told her that it was up to her to report or not since she was a grown up who could handle her own issues,” he said.
Asked to comment during cross-examination by Freddy’s lawyer on assertions that his niece only made rap_e allegations because she was regretting being intimate against her traditions, Chief Chikwaka said: “I was told that when they returned from her rural home she gave the accused a place to rest. I cannot say where he was supposed to sit.
“She told me that he started touching her. I cannot go deep into how she was touched or where she was touched.
“Let us all not pretend as if we are English people who do not understand what I mean when I say she was touched,” he said.
Asked to comment on her niece’s version that Freddy grabbed her while she was seated on a chair, declared that he was her husband and rap_ed her, Chief Chikwaka said: “I don’t know what she told the court because I was not there. I can only say what she told me. She told me that she decided to love him afterwards.”
Chief Chikwaka told the court that he decided to call Freddy at his homestead after his niece raised fresh complaints of physical abuse and disturbances at her work. He decided to call police to the meeting since rap_e allegations had been raised against Freddy.
“She called me in August 2021 and she was crying. I assumed her grandmother had passed away since she was sick. She told me that she was being abused by accused. It boggled my mind considering they had promised to get married,” he said.
Chief Chikwaka said she told him Freddy was in the habit of harassing and insulting her at her workplace.
“I told her that her issues cannot be dealt with over the phone and asked them to come to my place,” he said.
Chief Chikwaka said they had a meeting on August 15 from 7pm until 2.30am the following morning.
Asked why he invited the two to his place when the complaints were criminal in nature and needed police intervention, Chief Chikwaka said: “As their uncle, I have a duty to counsel those with problems in relationships.
“When I heard their issue had rap_e allegations, I called police. I invited the police so that if it was confirmed, the law would take its course,” he said.
Freddy, through lawyer Mr Everson Chatambudza, accused Chief Chikwaka of concealing vital information to the police during investigations, saying part of his testimony was not recorded in his warned and cautioned statement.
He replied that he only responded to what police asked him.
Asked why Freddy was not arrested by police when he called for the meeting at his homestead, Chief Chikwaka replied:
“From our discussions in the presence of police, they requested time to discuss and settle the issue. The two discussed and the accused asked for forgiveness. I was an uncle who was trying to assist the two in their relationship,” he said.
Mr Chatambudza suggested that the police failure to arrest Freddy was motivated by their intentions to extort money from Freddy.
The matter continues on January 24 with the State expected to call one of the police officers who attended the meeting at Chief Chikwaka’s homestead.