Lilongwe Magistrate Court has convicted and sentenced a Christian pastor Harrison Dickson Nkhoma, 59, to 14 years imprisonment with hard labour (IHL) for defiling a 12- year-old girl.
According to Spokesperson for Lingadzi Police Station in Lilongwe, Salome Zgambo, the court heard through police prosecutor, Sergeant Sautso Kamoto that the convict is a pastor of a
Pentecostal church in Kauma, Lilongwe where the victim was worshipping.
Kamoto also told the court that on October 24, 2020, the victim together with her siblings went to the accused person’s house to ask for help since they stayed for three days without food.
“After eating the food, the accused person told the victim together with her brothers to spend a night in his house since it was late for the kids to go back home.
“When they were all asleep, the accused person took the victim to his room where he defiled her and then threatened her that she would die if she narrates the ordeal to anyone,” said Zgambo.
The State Prosecutor pleaded with the court for custodial sentence, saying as a pastor, Nkhoma was supposed to protect children instead of abusing them.
He further told the court that the victim trusted him that’s why she asked him for help, but the accused person took advantage of her helplessness and took her innocence away, hence deserved a stiffer punishment to deter the would-be offenders.
Nkhoma was convicted and sentenced on his own plea of guilty.
In mitigation, Nkhoma pleaded for leniency saying as a pastor, giving him custodial sentence would tarnish his image including that of the church.
Passing judgment, Magistrate Shyreen Chirwa concurred with the State Prosecutor that as a leader, the accused person was supposed to protect children and not abuse them.
She further said cases of defilement and rape are rising in the country such that she would not entertain anyone involved in such malpractice which is Contrary to Section 138(1) of the Penal Code, hence the 14 years IHL sentence.
Nkhoma hails from Kapyepye Village in Traditional Authority Malemia in Zomba District.
On Tuesday women marched against rape in Malawi’s three main cities demanding harsher penalties to eradicate an entrenched culture of sexual violence.
Activists, politicians and journalists gathered to voice outrage at the violence, which has mainly targeted minors.
Waving placards that said “Hang the rapists” and “They are girls, not your toys”, they chanted songs denouncing rape impunity.
Malawi police recorded 1,501 cases of sexual violence between January and September this year compared to 1,766 in 2019. Just over 1,500 cases were recorded in 2018.
Police spokesman Peter Kalaya vowed to do more to “eliminate these evils”.
“We have arrested a lot of people, most of whom are serving sentences,” he assured.
Women-led activism is drawing attention to widespread rape in Malawi, where sexual abuse is often culturally normalised and rarely reported.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :