A self-proclaimed Zimbabwean bishop who, with his brother who is still at large, raped and impregnated a 17-year-old congregant at their church has been sentenced to 20 years in jail.
Andrew Mnkandla (41) stunned a court when he failed to recite four common Bible verses. He held the victim hostage at his house while he repeatedly raped her.
The court heard that he went to the teen’s mother with his wife and tried to bribe her so that she convinces her daughter to change her statement in court.
Mnkandla had pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of rape before regional magistrate Mr Chrispen Mberewere.
Mr Mberewere asked Mnkandla to recite Genesis 1 verse 1, Psalms 23 verse 1, John 3 verse 16 and John 14 verse 1.
Mnkandla drew chuckles from the gallery when he said John 3 verse 16 reads: “Let your hearts not be troubled,” yet it reads “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
He was completely clueless about Psalms 23 verse 1.
“Oh well bishop, it looks like the Bible is giving you a hard time. You can’t even recite very common verses familiar to many people. Let’s just get back to the business that brings you here, that of bedroom issues, because you seem to be better in that department,” said Mr Mberewere.
The magistrate convicted Mnkandla and sentenced him to 20 years in jail.
He suspended four years on condition of good behaviour, leaving him with an effective 16 years to serve.
The State had alleged that Mnkandla and his brother Lovemore (34) a pastor at the same church, raped the teen on different occasions.
The duo threatened that if she told anyone, the “demons they had exorcised from her would return with scores of others to haunt her.”
In her testimony, the teen said Lovemore raped her at Khami Mountains and Mnkandla raped her at his house.
“We went to the mountains for seven days with my father and Lovemore. My father was called back to work on the fourth day, leaving me with Lovemore. On our way home he dragged me into a nearby bush and raped me twice. He said if I told anyone, all the demons would return,” she said.
“Mnkandla came to our house and asked me to go to his house where he raped me twice. The first time he wore a condom. On another occasion he held me hostage in his house the whole night,” said the teen.
“My mother came to look for me at his house while I was in his bedroom but he denied knowledge of my whereabouts. The following day my father came. He told me to escape through the back door and wait for him at a football pitch close by. He came to get me later and instructed me to tell my father that I had spent the night at a school gate.”
In cross examination, prosecutor Mr Simbarashe Manyiwa, asked Mnkandla why he had gone against the court’s order barring him from interfering with witnesses, when he approached the teen’s mother.
In his defence, Mnkandla accused the victim’s father of fabricating the rape allegations.
“He fabricated these issues because he got angry that I asked him to come to my house to pray when his daughter went missing. I know so because he said it to my face,” said Mnkandla.
By: Tanaka Mrewa
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