Members of the Vapostori worshiping at a shrine in Harare ( photo: M. Chibaya)

Members of the Vapostori worshiping at a shrine in Harare ( photo: M. Chibaya)

An apostolic sect church leader will spend two years in prison for sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl from his church after asking her to accompany him to pick some pebbles used for prayers.

Shepherd Matanda (41), leader of Johane Masowe sect, denied two counts of statutory rape when he appeared before Chitungwiza regional magistrate Ms Estere Chivasa. But he was convicted of the charges and after realising that the court had made its decision he told the court that he was in love with the girl.

Ms Chivasa slapped Matanda with a three-year jail term, but conditionally set aside one year for five years. Matanda, who has two wives aged (20) and (21), told the court that he planned to take the girl as his third wife.

Prosecutor Ms Tafadzwa Makwande told the court that on August 1, at around 9am, Matanda called the minor advising her that he needed assistance to pick some pebbles at an area called Riverside. The girl agreed to accompany Matanda.

After picking the stones, Matanda forced the girl to sit down and began fondling her, saying that they should have sex, but she refused.

 Matanda pushed the girl to the ground and forced himself on her. Upon arrival home, the girl did not reveal the matter to anyone for fear of being assaulted by her mother.

 Two days later, Matanda called the girl asking to meet her at Makoni Shopping Centre for a walk. The girl proceeded to the venue and they left for Riverside grounds where Matanda had sex with her.

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