11 February 2013

Zimbabwe: School Head, Teacher Up for Molesting Two Pupils

Beitbridge Bureau — The case in which Kwalu Secondary School deputy headmaster and a teacher at the same school are accused of molesting two pupils aged 14 and 15 has been set for trial next month in Bulawayo. The case of Lifatsi Mbedzi (37), a deputy headmaster and Forget Mbedzi (31), a teacher at same school was transferred to Bulawayo regional court at the behest of the duo, who felt would not get a fair trial.

They claim the prosecutor, Mr Johannes Tlou, comes from the same area as the complainants and that the three were somehow related.

They also argued that Mr Tlou had shown an interest in the case since he went to the same church with the victims' parents.

The trial is expected to open on March 5 in Bulawayo.

Lifatsi and Forget are denying the charges of being intimate with the minors when they appeared before regional magistrate Mr Joseph Mabeza for initial remand.

They were both remanded out of custody to the trial date on US$50 bail each.

As part of the bail conditions, the duo was ordered to reside at their given addresses until the matter is finalised and to report at Beitbridge main police station twice a week.

Allegations are that some time last year Lifatsi invited the complainant, who is aged 15, to his office and proposed love to her.

The girl reportedly accepted the proposal and on several occasions Lifatsi would invite her to his office where he would molest her.

On June 8 at around 8pm, Lifatsi visited the girl's home at Malusungane village.

He asked the girl to accompany him back to his house and along the way he lured her into the bush where they became intimate.

The state further alleges that on June 2 last year, Forget spotted the 14-year-old girl at the school sports grounds.

He called her into his house where he proposed love.

She agreed and the teacher allegedly locked the door and became intimate with the girl.

He ordered her not to report to anyone.

The issues came to light in November last year during a police anti-sexual abuse campaign at the school. Police detectives received a tip-off, resulting in the arrests.

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