Civil rights activists Laura Miti has called for the the review of the court judgement in which Lusaka Magistrate Alice Walusiku acquitted PF Southern Province official Trevor Mwenda of a case of sexually abusing his biological daughter, Jane aged 19.
Ms. Miti said the acquittal of Mr Mwenda on grounds that the complainant’s testimony was self contradictory and could not be relied on since it was not supported by independent evidence does not make sense at all.
She said the entire judgment is flawed and illogical and unreasonable.
When the matter came up for ruling on case to answer on Monday, Magistrate Walusiku acquitted Mwenda saying it was strange that the complainant waited 10 years before deciding to report what her father used to do to her.
This is a matter in which Mwenda, 41, of Avondale in Lusaka has been dragged to court with his wife Racheal Kafula for indecent assault.
It was alleged that Mwenda, whilst acting together with his wife unlawfully and indecently assaulted his daughter Jane Mwenda between January 1, 2017 and January 31, 2018.
In the second count the duo whilst acting together between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2013 unlawfully and indecently did assault their daughter.
Mwenda however pleaded not guilty to both charges.
On May 2, 2018, Mwenda’s daughter Jane, currently student at the University of Zambia had narrated before magistrate Walusiku that her father had started abusing her when she was only 12 years old.
She had told the court that her father would ask her to help him masturbate.
Jane had further narrated that her father would ask her step mother to tell Jane to go to their bedroom where he would abuse her.
“He forced himself on me and tried to put his penis in my vagina. He ejaculated near my vagina and told me I can’t get pregnant because I didn’t start my periods. I then went to the bathroom to… ” she had said amidst sobs.
She explained that she had told her biological mother about what she was going through.
Jane had narrated that she didn’t report the matter to the police because her father had threatened her.
She said her father had chased her out of his house after she suspected that he was also sexually abusing her 11-year-old sister.
“When I confronted him, he told me to pack my belongings and go. He said if I wanted I should go to the police or ZNBC because nothing was going to happen,” she said.
The 20 year old had further told the court that each time she asked her father why he kept abusing her, his response was that her mother also went through the same.
And Mwenda’s sister testified that her brother’s wife was aware of the abuse.
She testified that after Jane had narrated to her about what had been happening, she confronted her sister in law to explain why she had allowed her husband to continue sexually molesting the children under her custody.
Mwenda’s sister narrated that her sister in law’s response had been that “she did not know that the issue had continued.”
She disclosed that as she was talking to her sister in law, she was also recording the conversation and that the recording was available.
Mwenda’s sister narrated that when she asked her sister in law if it was some kind of a ritual, Mwenda’s wife responded that ‘Mwenda’s friends had been telling him lies’.
But Ms Miti has called for a review of the entire judgment as it makes no sense.
“A girl says her father sexually abused her systematically from age 9. She lives pained but quietly. Now older, she one evening sees her dad taking her little sister behind the house (like he used to do to her). She freaks out and confronts him. Tells him she won’t let him do to her sister what he did to her. She reports the case and it ends up in court.”
“This week, Magistrate Alice Walusiku acquitted the influential politician saying there was no independent collaboration of the abuse. Someone else should have seen it happen, it seems,” Ms. Miti stated.
“She asks why the girl took so long to report the matter. It’s a long time since I heard such flawed, just about illogical, reasoning underpinning a verdict,” she said l.
Ms. Miti has since called on the state to appeal the case.
“I think this case must be appealed by the state. A girl claiming abuse must not be victimized for when she reports the story. It takes a whole lot of bravery for a child to report her powerful father to the authorities,” she said.
“If she cannot rely on courts to, at least, reach a verdict on a premise that is somewhat reasonable – girls will not report these matters which we know are now endemic. Come on Zambia, what can we do to get this case reviewed?”