Francistown Magistrates Court was the setting for a slightly unusual start to the week, when a grey-haired grandfather appeared in the dock on Monday morning facing a rape charge.
Having spent the last 26 days in prison on remand following his arraignment on 28 October, 79-year-old Sello Kind Mathambo shuffled slowly into court, his hands cuffed tightly together.
The Gerald Estates elder is accused of raping a teenager from his neighbourhood over two years ago.
It is said that on 22 April 2018, the old man defiled a 14-year-old Tadabigwa JSS schoolgirl.
Leaning forward as he strained to hear the charges when they were read out to him, Mathambo looked every bit his age.
Protesting his innocence, the portly elder pleaded not guilty to the charge, telling court he intends to engage his own attorney.
When prosecuting, Jacob Handly revealed investigations into the matter were complete and thus they did not object to the suspect being granted bail
“The accused will be furnished with the statements to prepare for trial,” added Prosecutor Handly.
Magistrate Faith Dlamini Ngandu duly granted Mathambo his freedom, providing he appears in court whenever required.
“Do not interfere with the complainant. Bring your attorney on your next court appearance and bind yourself with P1, 000,” were the Magistrate’s other bail conditions.
According to a close source to The Voice, on the day of the alleged rape, Mathambo went to a neighbour’s yard and asked the children to come and prepare food for him.
“When they got to the accused’s place, the children started playing outside and the old man called the complainant inside to cook for him. After a while, the other children followed them inside the house where they found the suspect allegedly raping the complainant,” said the source, speaking on the sidelines after court had adjourned for the day.
Mathambo is due back for mention on 17 December. At least this time he will escape the ignominy of handcuffs!