A Bulawayo serial rapist who lured his victims by claiming that he was a prophet before detaining them in the bush for a night has been jailed for an effective 52 years for rape and kidnapping.
BY SILAS NKALA
Elphas Robert Ndlovu (42) from Trenance raped five women from Njube, Magwegwe, Cowdray Park, Nketa and Iminyela surbubs after telling them they were possessed by evil spirits that would cause their deaths.
Ndlovu started his reign of terror on April 1 last year after he saw a 14-year- old girl at Entumbane shopping complex selling sweet potatoes.
Prosecutor Tinashe Dzipe said the fake prophet produced $100 saying he wanted sweet potatoes. He asked the girl to accompany him to Lobengula after she indicated that she had no change.
The two went to a house in Lobengula where Ndlovu ordered the girl to remain outside the yard while he looked for change.
He later claimed he could not get any change and took the girl to two more houses in Lobengula West and New Magwegwe before leading her into a bushy area.
Ndlovu told the victim he was a prophet and asked her to remove her clothes so he could exorcise her of spirits threatening to take her life.
The girl refused, but he went on to undress her and had sex with her several times before disappearing into the night.
His victim slept in the bush and reported the matter to her mother the next morning before a police report was made.
Five days later, Ndlovu met a 20-year-old Njube High School student from Cowdray Park and told her he had a vision that she would die of abdominal pains.
He told the woman he could remove an object in her chest planted by witches that would cause the pains.
The two boarded a vehicle to Magwegwe North for the “healing” and they disembarked before heading for a bushy area. After Ndlovu appeared to be delaying the “healing” the woman told him she wanted to go back home.
He struck her with a stone before sexually violating and detaining her for the night.
The woman only managed to free herself the following morning and a report was made to the police.
Ndlovu struck again on April 13 after meeting a 17-year-old girl from Nketa at a bus stop in Pumula.
He told the girl she was being haunted by evil spirits and she could be cleansed through a red flower mixed with vinegar.
Ndlovu claimed the flower could only be found in a bushy area between Pumula and Methodist village. Once they got into the area, the rapist asked to have sex with the girl.
She refused, but he overpowered her and abused her the whole night.
The girl only managed to escape the following morning.
Using the same tactics, Ndlovu raped and detained girls aged 18, 15 and 16 between April 27 and May 18 2014.
The women were from Pumula, Magwegwe and Iminyela high-density suburbs. He was arrested a day after raping his last victim, a 16-year-old girl from Iminyela.
Bulawayo regional court magistrate Crispen Mberewere sentenced Ndlovu to 15 years in jail for each case, which brought his number of years in prison to 75.
However, 30 years were suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour.
For the kidnappings, Mberewere slapped Ndlovu with 10 years in jail and suspended three for five years on condition of good behaviour. The rapist will serve an effective 52 years in jail.
Mberewere said cases of rapists who pose as prophets were getting out of hand.
“While authorities are engaged in measures to deal with such cases, it is the duty of the courts to punish offenders,” he said. “Rape on its own is a very bad thing and doing it in the name of God makes it even worse.”