Lobel’s rape ‘victim’ collapses in court

Mashudu Mambo

ONE of the five victims in the rape trial of Lobel’s Biscuits chief operations manager in Bulawayo Andrew Dinhidza collapsed while giving her evidence at the Bulawayo magistrate’s court on Wednesday.

Dinhidza appeared before Bulawayo regional magistrate Joseph Mabeza facing eight counts of rape and one count of aggravated indecent assault.

He pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

The victim who cannot be named for ethical reasons collapsed while being cross-examined about the statements she gave to the court on how Dinhidza sexually abused her under the pretext that he was going to give her a permanent post.

“I started working at Lobel’s Biscuits in 2009 and l was a contract worker for a long time. Dinhidza then called me and gave me an offer that if l wanted a permanent post l had to have sex with him. l ignored the offer.

“After some time, he called me when l was at work, and we met outside the work premises and he ordered me to get into his car. While l was inside, he then told me that if l wanted a permanent job l had to sleep with him,” narrated the victim.

She said that she was raped while inside the car and after the sexual abuse ordeal she was ordered to return to work.

“After hearing that, l tried to leave the car and he locked the doors. He lowered the car seat, undressed me and then raped me again.

“After that he ordered me to go back to work. I went back while covered with an apron as some buttons of the dress that l was wearing had come out,” she said.

The victim further said she was also raped again sometime in 2021 when Dinhidza called her to a local lodge.

“Sometime in 2021, he called me and told me to meet him at a lodge in the city centre and when l got there, I found his car parked outside.

“He entered into the lodge, and I followed him thinking that is where l was going to sign the documents for my permanent job and when he opened the door to a room, l then discovered that there was a bed inside,” she added.

She said after being sexually abused she never got a permanent post as she was being promised.

“I tried to inquire on what was happening and he pushed me to the bed and raped me and he threatened that there was nothing that l could do to him.

“I continued working as a contract employee without being promoted and sometime in May last year, he called me again to his office and when l got there, he demanded to have sex with me. l refused and said it was better for me to quit the job,” she said.

The victim added that after she refused to have sex with Dinhidza, she was now being assigned with heavy duties that led her to quit in July.

Proceedings, however, came to a halt when the prosecutor, Acumen Khupe, asked her to tell the court if Dinhidza wore a condom during the alleged series of sexual abuse.

Feeling overwhelmed, the victim instantly collapsed and the court was adjourned  leading the matter to be postponed to 22 March for continuation of trial.

The trial continues on 22 March.

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