Tanzania: Court Dismisses Appeal in Child Sexual Misconduct Case

THE Court of Appeal has dismissed the appeal by Rajabu Ponda, who was challenging a 20-year-custodian sentence imposed on him for sexually abusing a minor by licking both her private parts and ears with his tongue.

Justices; Richard Mziray, Rehema Mkuya and Ignas Kitusi ruled against Ponda, the appellant, after holding that all the grounds of appeal he had lodged lacked merits.

According to them, after having examined the entire prosecution evidence, they were of the view that the victim was sexually abused.

"In the event, looking at the totality of the evidence, we are satisfied that the prosecution proved the case beyond reasonable doubt that (the victim), was sexually abused by none other than the appellant.

Hence, we find the appeal to have no merit.

We accordingly dismiss it in its entirety," they declared. The justices pointed out that the young girl had explained clearly on what befell her on the date of incident.

She related on how on the material date of July 25, 2016, the appellant called her to go to his room. She explained how that person undressed her and started licking her private parts and ears with his tongue.

The victim also explained how the appellant touched her on several parts of her body by using his hands. At the end the appellant warned her not to tell anybody what happened to her.

The justices said that besides that, much as the victim's evidence could have sufficiently proved that the appellant committed the offence of grave sexual abuse to her, they found that the appellant also promoted the prosecution's case.

"We say so because, in his caution statement, the appellant confessed on July 25, 2016 at about 09:30 hrs, to have called the victim to bring a broom (ufagio) in his room and that she brought it and he started sweeping while the young girl was still inside."

"He then told her to take the rubbish outside, and that is when he started touching her breasts, undressing her shirt and touching her stomach and then her private parts, and when he was doing so, he was calling her his fiancé (mchumba, mchumba)," the justices noted.

From his confession, they said, it was clear that the appellant admitted to have abused the victim. Furthermore, the justices noted, the appellant in his defense went on to support the prosecution's case by reiterating what he stated in his cautions statement.

"Looking at the evidence (of the victim), the cautioned statement of the appellant and his defense evidence, we entertain no doubt that he had indeed committed a grave sexual abuse to (her)," they concluded.

The victim was a standard one pupil at Mpechi Primary School. The victim, after the ordeal, put back her clothes and went home, but later she started crying and revealed the matter to others, including her mother. Having being inspected, some salivary juice was found in her private parts and ears.

Thereafter they took her to the police station where they were issued with a PF3 and then went to hospital where she was attended by a doctor.

The appellant was arrested on the same date and taken to the police station at Njombe.

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