A Lupane villager who took advantage of and raped a mentally challenged teenage girl with whom he was herding cattle, has been jailed for 16 years.
Hwange regional magistrate Collet Ncube said Jonathan Sibanda, aged 37, of Mateteni village under Chief Mabhikwa took advantage of the girl's condition when he violated her early this year.
Sibanda pleaded not guilty to rape.
He claimed he did not know the girl was mental challenged.
The magistrate however said he deserved a lengthy custodial sentence.
Prosecutor Vumizulu Mangena said the rape took place on January 14 near Mateteni river where Sibanda had waylaid the girl.
The girl, who cannot be named on ethical reasons, is from the same village with Sibanda.
"On the 14th day of January in the afternoon, the complainant was with her sister and Sibanda herding cattle and donkeys in their village grazing area.
"Some donkeys went missing and the complainant's sister left the victim with Sibanda as she went to look for the missing donkeys," said Mangena.
He said Sibanda hatched a plan and waylaid the girl to the nearby river on the pretext that they were taking the cattle to drink water.
When they got to the river, Sibanda called the girl to where he was standing and ordered her to undress and lie down facing upwards.
The girl only revealed the abuse to her brother's wife six days later.
A report was made to the police leading to the arrest of Sibanda while the girl was taken to St Luke's Hospital for medical examination.