A Pastor at Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) led by controversial prophet Shepherd Bushiri has been sentenced to 16 years in jail for raping a 12-year-old congregant.

David Ngwenya (30), who resides at House Number 743 New Luveve in Bulawayo, had visited a family of congregants in Victoria Falls when he raped the minor in January this year.

Ngwenya, who told the court that he was a singer at Bushiri’s ECG church, denied raping the girl in Mkhosana suburb, claiming that he only prayed for her and anointed her with holy oil.

He had pleaded not guilty to rape when appeared before Hwange Regional Magistrate Mr Collet Ncube. The magistrate convicted Ngwenya after a full trial and sentenced him to 16 years in prison. Two years were suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour.

The pastor said: “I wanted to pray for the family at 9PM but noticed that a girl was not around. She was sleeping in a spare bedroom. I went into the bedroom where I only prayed for her and anointed her with holy oil.”

The girl told the court how Ngwenya entered her bedroom after making her family believe that he wanted to pray for her.

She said Ngwenya went straight to her bed, undressed her and raped her once. After the rape, Ngwenya left the room and closed the door to the spare bedroom as he joined other family members who were in the sitting room.

The court was told that the girl’s mother entered the room where she found her daughter sitting on the edge of the bed.

She suspected that something was amiss and questioned her daughter why she looked unhappy. The girl told her mother that she was fine and the mother left the room.

In the morning, the girl went to school and did not tell anyone about the rape. The matter came to light in the afternoon when the girl arrived home from school and her mother noticed that she was limping and crying.

Upon being questioned, the girl revealed that Ngwenya had raped her the previous night and she was in pain. A report was made to the police leading to Ngwenya’s arrest.

Mr Tinomupei Mbiza prosecuted.

Meanwhile, a pastor at a Zion church in Gwanda has been jailed 16 years for raping a 15-year-old congregant who is also his neighbour.

Telmore Nkomo (28) of Sizeze Village who is a pastor at Ararati Zion Christian Church had pleaded not guilty to rape before Gwanda regional magistrate, Mr Mark Dzira, but was convicted due to overwhelming evidence.

He was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment and two years were suspended on condition that he does not commit a similar offence within the next five years.

Prosecuting, Mr Mncedisi Dube said Nkomo raped the juvenile who is a Form Three pupil at Sitezi Secondary School several times in April last year while she was doing chores at his house.

“The matter came to light after her brother suspected that she was being sexually abused. Her brother questioned her until she revealed that Nkomo had raped her,” he said.

In his defence, Nkomo through his legal counsel, Mr Thobekani Nyathi of Masawi and Partners, said the allegations against him had been fabricated as there was bad blood between him and the juvenile’s father.

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