A 38-YEAR-OLD traditional healer of Mpulungu district in Northern Province who took advantage of the vulnerability of an epileptic girl of Mbala and raped her will spend the next 15 years in prison.
The Kasama High Court found it prudent to cage the witch doctor, Alex Simfukwe, of Chinakila village after finding him guilty of raping the 19-year-old girl, who was in his care for traditional treatment of epilepsy.
Ndola High Court judge Emelia Sunkutu, sitting in Kasama, noted that it was saddening that accused abused his position of being a traditional healer to have sex with the victim.
Simfukwe had denied the charge, which he committed on August 13, 2014, in Mbala.
“Your duty was to do the healing which you went for at the victim’s house. It was not for you to help yourself sexually. Instead of performing healing on the victim, you went and committed a crime, Ms Justice Sunkutu said .
“My appeal goes to other traditional healers not to abuse the trust that people have in them.”
She said she had been lenient with Simfukwe because he was a first offender and there was no injury on the victim other than a torn pair of pants.
“I will exercise maximum leniency on you by imposing the minimum sentence of 15 years imprisonment with hard labour,” Ms Justice Sunkutu said.
She granted Simfukwe leave to appeal to the Supreme Court within 14 days.
Simfukwe’s lawyer, Humphrey Mweemba, pleaded with the court to be lenient on him as he was a married man with eight children, adding that the convict was remorseful as he had reflected on his actions during the period of his incarceration.
During trial, the court heard that Simfukwe was hired from Mpulungu to Mbala by the victim’s parents to heal their daughter, who had been suffering from epilepsy.
When Simfukwe arrived, he administered the first course of traditional medicine at 16.00 hours and later suggested that he needed to administer some more medicines around 04.00 hours of the following morning and that he would do that from the bush.
Simfukwe and the victim set out for the bush on the material day around 04:00 hours as agreed, and when they got there, he said the only way she could be totally healed was to have sex with him.
He said he has had sex with most of his patients and that they were completely healed.
The court heard that the victim refused but Simfukwe forced himself on her.
She then reported the matter to her grandmother, leading to the apprehension of Simfukwe.
In his defence, Simfukwe admitted having been hired to perform healing on the victim but denied having raped her.
He said the victim’s father had falsely implicated him as a way of avoiding paying for the healing he had performed on the girl.