Justice favours the rich, says convicted rapist

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Windhoek

A convicted rapist, serving a 90-year prison term, has accused the justice system of favouring wealthy people at the expense of offenders who are poor.

Ralph Mzuvulike Mtshibe, convicted in March 2013 on one count of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and two counts of rape committed under coercive circumstances, believes his sentence was disproportionate to the crimes he was convicted of.

As such, the rapist said he is not remorseful for the acts he committed. At the time of his sentence, Mtshibe was not a first offender, as he had previous convictions dating as far back as 1989, which were taken into consideration during sentencing.

His previous convictions include housebreaking with intent to steal and theft, robbery with aggravating circumstances, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, as well as rape.

Before sentencing Mtshibe in March 2013, Judge Naomi Shivute told him that his conduct showed that he had no respect for women’s physical integrity and that he did not attach any value to human dignity.

She also called him a “devious monster” who goes about targeting young women. Shivute noted that while Mtshibe posed as a good Samaritan, he took vulnerable ladies who were new in his hometown of Lüderitz to secluded places to rape them to satisfy “his sick sexual desires”.

However, Mtshibe told New Era that the punishment he received was too severe. He bemoaned the fact that there are many convicted rapists, who did not get as severe a punishment as his.

To hammer home his argument of supposed bias within the judiciary, Mtshibe drew comparisons between his case and that of civil engineer, Epafroditus Unengu, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for rape.

Unengu, the son of a High Court judge, raped a 21-year-old woman in the Kavango and assaulted her before she managed to get away from him and run into the surrounding bushes.

“The son of a judge got only 12 years for rape, but there was evidence that he committed the crimes. I was convicted of two counts of rape and there was no evidence or marks on the woman’s body that I raped her, but I got so many years,” said Mtshibe, who claims he was wrongly convicted.

“Those who are well-off get away with mild punishment, while the poor are given hopelessly severe punishments.”
When New Era visited Mtshibe and other prisoners recently, the stone-faced rapist did not show any remorse.

“At the moment I do not feel remorseful for what happened,” he said, when asked if he had any regrets about the incidents that left him with virtually no chance of walking free from prison.

Mtshibe said: “Only the two of us [he and the woman he was convicted of raping] know what really happened. No scratches were found on her body to indicate that I raped her. I cry every day for the severe punishment I got,” remarked the 39-year-old Mtshibe.

He also said that severe punishment will not deter criminals from committing crimes. “The punishment they gave me does not scare people. Those things are still happening,” said Mtshibe.

When asked what he misses about the outside world, the father of three, who was a resident of Lüderitz, said he misses his family and freedom most.

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