A Zanu PF activist, Lillian Kandemiri was on Friday jailed for an effective nine months for offering a 15-year-old girl to an ex-convict as payment for a US$40 000 debt.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Kandemiri was initially sentenced to 18 months by Western Commonage magistrate Themba Chimiso, but nine months were suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour.
In his judgement, Chimiso said Kandemiri had exposed the girl who had been under her care by offering her to Elphas Ncube as a wife to offset the debt.
“The accused’s conduct amou-nted to child exploitation and abuse. She is a grandmother to the victim and she had to protect and not exploit her,” the magistrate said.
“The act warrants a deterrent sentence to deter likely minded elements of the society and to protect the vulnerable girl child from abuse.
“I find the custodial sentence appropriate. The accused is sentenced to an effective nine months imprisonment without the option of a fine.”
In mitigation, Kandemiri asked for a non-custodial sentence saying she was looking after 12 orphans and that she was also sick.
“I suffer from hypertension and I am diabetic. I ask for a non-custodial sentence. I committed the offence out of ignorance,” she said.
The court proved that sometime in 2010 Kandemiri was asked to sell a plot in Esigodini on behalf of Ncube, who was in prison at the time.
Ncube asked that the plot be sold for US$70 000 but it was finally sold for US$40 000.
According to the agreement, Kandemiri was supposed to hand over the money to Ncube’s wife.
However, when Ncube was released from prison in January 2014, he discovered that his wife had not received any money from Kandemiri despite the buyers having paid for it in full.
He confronted Kandemiri demanding his money. Fearing arrest, she offered him her 15-year-old relative as compensation.
Kandemiri hogged the limelight in 2009 when she led a group of Zanu PF supporters who invaded a Bulawayo City Council-owned farm adjacent to Emganwini high-density suburb.
She subdivided the farm and parcelled out stands to about 300 families for a fee. Council sought an eviction order at the High Court against the invaders after police refused to intervene.
In January 2010, municipal officials together with the police burnt down the illegal structures, including one belonging to Kandemiri, and evicted the occupants.
Kandemiri was taken away by police and briefly detained at Donnington Police Station while the illegal settlers were ferried to various destinations where they were dumped by council authorities.