The 14 year-old-girl from Lutumba area in Beitbridge who burst into tears in court last Friday and begged a local magistrate not to jail her 20-year-old boyfriend who had been convicted of statutory rape, reports The Herald.
The court heard that Lovemore Mapanzure used his uncle’s house to be intimate with the minor for four days before she was rescued by police.
Beitbridge resident magistrate, Mr. Tiyondepi Zhou, convicted Mapanzure on his own plea of guilty and sentenced him to 12 months imprisonment before conditionally suspending four months of the sentence for five years.
Prosecutor, Mr. Tariro Makaya, told the court that Mapanzure proposed love to the teenager in December last year and she accepted.
On 29 March this year, the girl visited Mapanzure at his uncle’s homestead where they became intimate once.
The two stayed together for four days during which they were intimate at least once daily.
Police raided the homestead after the girl’s mother reported the case.
Zimbabwe statutory rape law is violated when an individual has consensual heterosexual or female homosexual sexual contact with a person under age 16.
Individuals aged 15 or younger in Zimbabwe are not legally able to consent to sexual activity, and such activity may result in prosecution for statutory rape or the equivalent local law.
Zimbabwe does not have a close-in-age exemption. Close in age exemptions are put in place to prevent the prosecution of individuals who engage in consensual sexual activity when both participants are significantly close in age to each other, and one or both partners are below the age of consent.