A 41-year-old man has been jailed to a lengthy cumulative 58 years for a string of child sex offences against three young girls between 2016 and 2019- the punishment which has pleased women activists pleading for stiff punishment for sexual offenders.
High Court in Mzuzu handed the sentence to Thomas Chavula. But Judge Thomson Ligowe in his November 6, 2020 determination said the sentences will run concurrently, meaning that Chavula will be behind bars for 24 years.
The full charges were three counts of sexual assault of a 11-year-olf stepdaughter between 2016 and 2019; defilement of a three-year-old girl in March 2019, who was a daughter to his neighbour, while the third count, Chavula defiled a nine-year-old girl his tenant’s daughter, in August 2019.
“Regarding the first count, Thomas Chavula defiled the girl repeatedly over a period if three years from the age of nine to 11. In the instance mentioned by the girl. He used a deceptive tact to get her into his bedroom. The girl was injured in her private parts.
“At the age of 41, he was old enough to appreciate the consequences of his acts. Considering that he defiled three girls in his vicinity, it seems some kind of habit had developed in him,” reads the ruling in part.
Judge Ligowe said the convict Chavula is, therefore , “dangerous to society.”
Ligowe said: “He [Chavula] should be kept away for a long time. I order imprisonment for 24 years with hard labour.”
For defilement of a three-year-old girl, Ligowe slapped Chavula with 18 years imprisonment with hard labour while the defilement of his tenant’s nine-year-old daughter, he was handed a 16-year-jail sentence.
Ligowe said for the sentences to run consecutively, he would spend 58 years in jail which he observed would be “tantamount to inhuman and degrading treatment” and ordered the sentences to run concurrently.
Women Legal Resource Centre executive director Maggie Kathewera Banda has welcomed the sentence, saying the judge has set a precedence and must be commended.
Elsewhere, Chitipa Magistrate’s Court has sentenced a 35-year-old man to 14 years imprisonment for defiling a 14-year-old girl in the district.
State prosecutor Kanyumbu told the court that the convict has an affair with the girl in 2018.
He said the accused impregnated the girl in 2019, forcing her to drop out of school while in Standard Eight. The accused denied the charges, but the State paraded three witnesses to prove the case.
In a related development, the court also sentenced a 19-year-old man to seven years imprisonment for defiling a 15-year-old girl in the district.
On November 3, Association of Women in Media (Awome) members took to the streets to protest the rising cases of sexual violence against women and girls. They handed over a petition to government demanding stiff punishments for offenders.
And on Monday November 16 during a join match, Women Doctors Association , Women Manifesto Movement and Malawi Feminists Alliance called for a constitutional and institutional review to ensure stiffer punishment to sex offenders following escalating cases—Additional reporting by Bishop Witmoss, Mana.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :